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Effect of conservation tillage and peat application on weed infestation on a clay soil

MTT Agrifood Research Finland
Publication Date
  • Weed Management


Amendment of soil with peat is an attempt to avoid crop yield variation in the transition to conservation tillage, as it improves seedbed conditions and crop growth in drought-sensitive clay soils. Weed infestations were compared in 1999-2000 between the original and peat-amended clay (Typic Cryaquept, very fine, illitic or mixed) under different autumn tillage systems in an oats-barley rotation. In a field experiment, sphagnum peat (H = 4) had been spread (0.02 m 3 m -2 ) on the soil surface in August 1995. Tillage treatments included mouldboard ploughing (to 20 cm) and stubble cultivations of different working depths (8 or 15 cm) and intensity (once or twice). Weed biomass and density were assessed by an area of 1 m 2 per field plot in August 1999-2000 and June 2000. The 1999 season was dry, but soil moisture conditions were more favourable in 2000. Peat application tended to increase the number of volunteer oats and Chenopodium album in 1999, while decreasing Galium spurium biomass. Ploughing significantly increased the abundance of Chenopodium album and Lamium purpureum in barley (Hordeum vulgare) in 1999. Weed infestation was much lower in 2000, and tillage effect on Chenopodium album was minor in oats (Avena sativa). Growth of Lamium purpureum and Fumaria officinalis was stimulated in ploughed soils both years. Intensity and working depth of stubble cultivation had no significant effect on weeds.

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