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The FFC – Information – Weed Management

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The FFC / Merfield Agronomy Ltd Non-Chemical Weed Management Workshop

The FFC / Merfield Agronomy Ltd aim to run their non-chemical weed management workshop on an annual basis alternating between the South Island (at Lincoln University) and the North Island (various locations).  If you want to be notified of the next workshop please subscribe to the FFC Events notice list.

Vineyard floor management: A sustainability nexus with a focus on undervine weeding. Report number 04-2019

This report was instigated in 2014 by Organic Winegrowers NZ requesting a booklet on organic undervine weed control.  However, it quickly became clear as I was writing the weeding booklet that it is impossible to separate out undervine weed management from the management of the whole vineyard floor and that the vineyard floor is a nexus of many of the solutions to humanities global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss.  The undervine weed management section has been published by Organic Winegrowers NZ, but, this is the full report, now updated.

While written for organic winegrowing in New Zealand, the report is equally appliable to both organic and non-organic systems, and any perennial crop production system, e.g., pipfruit, stone fruit, nuts, vines, bush / cane fruit, not just grape vines, in any country, not just New Zealand.

Download the report

Culinary oils as herbicides

The FFC has studied the effect of a range of culinary oils for their herbicidal effects on a range of weed and crop species.  It showed that some oils could kill some plants, and rapeseed oil was the best overall performer.  It is hoped that this preliminary look will be a springboard for future research.

Read the report as an FFC Bulletin article or download a PDF version of the report.

Non-chemical management of docks (Rumex)

This extension report, originally written by the FFC for Pesticide Action Network-Europe (PAN_EU), lays out all the key requirements and techniques for non-chemical management of docks. Download report as a PDF.  An updated version of this report can be downloaded here Non-chemical management of docks (Rumex) V2 2022.

Download the PAN-EU report “Alternative methods in weed management to the use of glyphosate and other herbicides: Integrated weed management – many little hammers”

Mini-ridgers:  Lethal burial depths for controlling intrarow weeds

Updated research that supersedes the research previous report “The final frontier: Non-chemical, intrarow, weed control for annual crops with a focus on mini-ridgers” (see below) and is a stand alone mini-ridgers information source.

Download the report as a PDF file, or read the full report as an FFC Bulletin article.

Electrothermal weeder demonstration project

The BHU Future Farming Centre is launching a project to develop an electrothermal demonstration weeder for pasture and cropping weeds.  Electrothermal is both a ‘back to the future’ technology in that it has been extensively researched in the past, but lost out to herbicides, and a game changer as it is the only thermal and indeed non-chemical weeding technology that has a systemic effect, like glyphosate does, as it can kill the roots.  More info

False and Stale Seedbeds: The most effective non-chemical weed management tools for cropping and pasture establishment

Globally there is a growing need for non-chemical weed management tools due to multiple and increasing issues with herbicides.  Of the many non-chemical techniques ‘false seedbeds’ stands out due to its efficacy, ease of use, reliability and low cost plus it can be used for any kind of plant establishment from pasture through arable to vegetables.  Contrary to many peoples view of non-chemical weeding as being focused on killing weeds in the growing crop, this is a tillage / cultivation based technique, that can be used for any crop as it undertaken pre-planting.

Download this report as a PDF file.

The final frontier: Non-chemical, intrarow, weed control for annual crops with a focus on mini-ridgers

Addendum May 2018.  The FFC has undertaken further research on burial that supersedes the research in this report.  Please see the report “Mini-ridgers:  Lethal burial depths for controlling intrarow weeds” (see above) for information on burial depths.  This report still has a range of valuable information on intrarow weeding tools that the new report does not cover.

Non-chemical weeding machinery has made huge advances over the last couple of decades and the combination of modular parallelogram hoes and computer guidance interrow hoeing is now a straightforward field operation.  The final frontier is now intrarow weeding between the plants, and this is being aggressively pushed back with a combination of both high and low tech approaches.  Download this report as a PDF file, or read the full report as an FFC Bulletin article.

Non-chemical management of Californian thistle: Subsoiling, and other less common techniques

Extension article on less common techniques for controlling and managing Californian thistle including subsoiling / deep ripping, that has the ability to immediately kill Californian thistle and therefore eliminate it from a field in one go.  Download report as a PDF file, or also view it as a FFC Bulletin article.

Intrarow Soil Thermal Weeding 2013

Intrarow Soil Thermal Weeding (ISTW) is considered to be the only direct non-chemical substitute for herbicides, and that can outperform weed killers in a number of ways including: broad spectrum, i.e. kills all therophyte weeds; has a residual period as long as the crop’s production cycle; can be used in any row crop (economics notwithstanding); has a nil withholding period; has no risk of releasing chemicals into the environment; has exceptional reliability levels (i.e., always works); and has no risk of evolved resistance.  Read more…

FAR (Foundation for Arable Research) Non-chemical weed management articles

Non-chemical weed management: Stale and false seed beds

Non-chemical weed management – harvest and the weed seedbank

Non-chemical weed management – mechanical weeding

Steam and fish fertilisers: A potential organic systemic herbicide?  2006

This was a Sustainable Farming Fund, funded project that researched the potential for fish based fertilisers combined with steam to give a systemic weed kill.  Spoiler – they did not but found some other interesting findings and also propelled the development of the worlds first direct-fired steam weeder!  Read more…

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