If you perform reduced tillage, weeds spread more easily.
Suitable machinery and techniques to control persistent perennial weeds.
In organic farming, reduced tillage is more demanding than in a system using herbicides. The less the soil is treated, the greater the risk of volunteering plants is; additionally, there are problems with grasses and perennial weeds. Stubble cultivation in summer is the only way to effectively regulate thistles, wild rye, bindweeds and dock plants.
The prerequisite for success is to use the existing technology properly and to set up the tools correctly and use them at the appropriate time. At a machinery demonstration on the organic farm Neuhof in Birr, Switzerland, cultivators and skim ploughs were presented for stubble cultivation.
If the focus was on the controlling of perennial weeds, the flat cultivator scored the best results. Fully undercutting and exposing the roots is possible in one go even with skim ploughs. However, finding the correct settings seems to be more difficult.
With statements by Hansueli Dierauer, FiBL consultant, André Meier, organic farmer and Django Hegglin, organic farmer.