IWMPRAISE in the UK – how are we going to work?

The project spans cropping systems and nations across the EU and has 10 work packages. In the UK we are participating in ‘Work Package 3’ which is developing, defining and promoting the adoption of IWM in narrow row crops and rotations.

We are going to partner field trials on specific aspects of integrated weed management to help build the knowledge base around IWM approaches with a number of larger scale on-farm demonstrations following the adoption of IWM in a conservation agriculture setting.

For the 2017-18 season we are carrying out these detailed field trials.

The implications of no-till drilling for grass-weed management in autumn sown break crops;
Management of break crops is becoming increasing important as part of a grass-weed management strategy across the rotation as resistance effects the level of control we can reliably achieve in cereal crops. We have some very effective herbicides in the key winter break crops (Field Beans & Oilseed Rape) but we can we use no-till establishment techniques to maximise their effectiveness and at the same time reduce the abundance of weeds that soil movement stimulates to emerge in the crop.

Cultivations post-harvest and over-winter to optimise the effectiveness of spring cropping against grass-weeds.
Spring cropping has become a key element in management strategies for herbicide resistant grass weeds. What post-harvest and overwinter management can be adopted to optimise the effectiveness of spring cropping at reducing grass weeds? How does a true conservation agriculture no-til strategy (with no soil movement post-harvest and over-winter) impact on the effectiveness of spring crops for grass weed management; does the lack of soil movement reduce seed losses or can it be part of the solution?

The potential for companion cropping in spring sown field beans
In the past perhaps viewed as slightly left-field – in crops where there are a good range of effective herbicides and where the crop itself can effectively suppress weeds it might be hard to see how companion cropping could do anything other than make things more complicated. BUT these options of companion cropping or inter-cropping could be an interesting approach in some situations; helping to make certain spring crops where herbicides are limited and crop competition is poor more effective at managing weeds.

Inter-row guided mechanical weeding
A traditional management option for crops like sugar beet; modern technology (from Garford Farm Machinery) means that the accuracy and potential work-rate has been increased dramatically and the row width required has shrunk from the old steerage-hoe, while at the same time the option of using selective herbicides on the crop row and mechanical weeding in the inter-row space is now available. We will evaluate the weed control in practice and explore if this approach cost effective on a whole field scale.

Mechanical weeding strategies for the UK vineyards and orchards
In the UK there is also an activity in Orchards and Vineyards led in the UK by NIAB EMR (Work Package 6). Our work will combine the latest imaging technologies with mechanical weeding technics to optimise IWM and reduce the use of herbicides as the only solution for weed control.

Long-term demonstrations;
Details of these locations will be publicised during 2018 as will events to demonstrate and explain progress of the project. Our aim is to ensure a good distribution around the country to demonstrate IWM in practice under a range of environmental conditions.

A linked work package (Work Package 2) which spans the partners across Europe is developing and defining innovative non-chemical approaches to IWM.