ILVO blogs ILVO BLOGS from the Experimental Platform for Agroecology in Hansbeke: Successful mechanical weeding in a mixed crop

Field with a weeded row and a non-weeded row of mixed pea and barley
On the left, the rows to be weeded. On the right, the rows where the weeder already passed. The top layer is clearly loosened but the crop remains anchored in the subsoil.

On May 3, 2021, at the Experimental Platform for Agroecology in Hansbeke (PPAE Hansbeke), a mixed culture of malting barley and pea was tilled with Treffler's precision weed harrow. The cradle harvester provides mechanical weed control so that no herbicides are needed to kill weeds.

Finding the appropriate time for weeding is no easy task. It is a trade-off between the weather forecast and the development of weeds and crop. Indeed, dry weather increases the success rate of mechanical weed control, but weeds are best dealt with at their germination stage before they appear on the soil surface.

Constant tine pressure regardless of soil unevenness

Treffler's harrower is special because it has a system for setting a uniform tine pressure. The tines are individually sprung and the pressure is hydraulically controlled from the tractor. It is important to place the right pressure on the tines for maximum weed destruction without loosening the crop. If the weeds are already more established, then more aggressive and possibly multiple weeding is required, which can cause damage to the crop.

In the video below you can see the precision weeder at work in the mixed culture of malting barley and pea.
Treffler precision weeder for mechanical weed control

The result?

The mixed culture of malting barley and pea withstood the weeding treatment very well. Two weeks after weeding, the crops were well developed on the field (see photo). In the summer they will be harvested and then tested.

mixed culture of pea and malting barley
The good development of the mixed culture of malting barley and pea, two weeks after weeding.

The Experimental Platform for Agroecology in Hansbeke is a collaboration between ILVO, PHAE and RHEA. The 50 ha of organic fields offers a unique experimentation space for agroecological principles. We regularly blog about these experiments via the ILVO website and social media.

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