Although cultural methods provide the basis for weed management in organic crop rotations it is likely that some form of direct action will be needed against weeds to prevent crop loss at some time. Before taking any action it is important to take an overview and assess whether the weeds present are likely to develop to such an extent that they will cause an immediate loss of crop or will store up potential future problems (e.g. by shedding seed and adding to the soil seed bank so exacerbating future weed problems). If the weed burden is judged to have the potential to cause damage the cost of this should be offset against the likely costs of any immediate or future direct control measures so that direct weeding is only underaken when it is economically beneficial to do so. Our section on decision making considers various questions to ask before carrying out any weeding operations. (i.e. is weed control needed? Where and when is it needed?)
If action is necessary a range of options is available for direct weed control in organic crops. This section of the website is devoted to giving those options and discussing approaches to the direct control of weeds. It has been split into sub-sections that describe each of the approaches in more detail and these sections can be accessed through the menu on the left side of the page or by clicking the links below.
- Mechanical weed control provides an overview of the range of options and implements available for direct mechanical weed control in the field.
- Manual weed control is still an important component of many weed management programmes and this section provides an overview of techniques available for use on farm.
- Thermal weed control is becoming more popular and is described in this section.
- Mulching provides a physical barrier to weed development and is often used in horticultural crops to control weeds.
- Biological weed control aims to get insects, pathogens or even other plants to do the work of weed management for the farmer.
Many of the above approaches rely on tractor mounted or other equipment and so we have also provided a page of links to weed machinery sites in order to help you search for options and also so you can directly see what they have to say about their kit.
If you have any comments on any of the approaches described in these sections
please use the add comments button to make any appropriate remarks.