SLU news

Many attendants at weed seminar

Published: 21 November 2012

On November 8, at Ultuna Campus, a well-attended seminar on weed was organized. On the agenda was to discuss Nordic research and the need for new knowledge to effectively control perennial weeds.

The day began with lectures by advisors, farmers and weed scientists from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. New results were presented from experiments with control of couch grass and creeping thistle as well as experiments with new technologies to control weeds, such as the weed cutter CombCut and Cameleon.

Experiences from Mälardalen
Advisor Camilla Persson, from the company Växtråd, reported about her experiences of how farmers control especially creeping thistle in organic agriculture in the Mälardalen region. Mats Wennberg, organic grain grower, spoke about his work to combat perennial weeds on the farm. The most problematic weeds for him are creeping thistle, coltsfoot and perennial sow-thistle. His philosophy is to strengthen the crop and thus create less room for weeds.

In the afternoon were first discussions in small groups and then jointly on the measures that may be recommended against perennial weeds today, what knowledge is missing and what research needs to be prioritized.

Gaps in knowledge about coltsfoot and creeping thistle
It was found that knowledge of perennial weed biology is comprehensive, but there are still gaps particularly about the coltsfoot and creping thistle’s sprouting from root parts during both spring and autumn.

Crop varieties are important
An important part of the control strategy of perennial weeds is to give the cultivated crop optimum conditions to manage the competition with weeds. It is therefore important that the farmer has access to different varieties that is adapted to farm conditions.

New technology
When it came to technology, the need for more studies of the weed cutter was emphasized, but also to further develop the technique for inter-row cultivation, for example by using GPS control.

The day was organized by EPOK, “EkoForsk” and the Department for Crop Production Ecology at SLU in collaboration with the Swedish Board of Agriculture.