The first national cluster experience exchange workshop was organized by Ludovic Bonin from ARVALIS –Institute du végétal in Boigneville, France. The research station is located south of Paris and carry out field trials among other activities. Eighteen participants from Denmark, UK, France, Slovenia and Italy represented farmers, advisors, farmers associations and research institutions.
These workshops are organized to facilitate the knowledge exchange among participants from different countries in the workpackages. The current workshop was centered around the narrow row crops, such as cereals and oilseed rape, and the associated crop rotations.
The participants were presented with of some of the research center’s activities by Jérôme Labreuche, especially on the effect of soil tillage. One long term trial, started in 1971, is currently being adjusted to include five different systems with varying soil cultivation and weed control strategies. Other trials focus on the alternatives for glyphosate use and management of cover crops.
In the field, there was a good discussion on similarities and differences in management practices among the represented countries. There is a high interest in the soil cultivation intensity and differences between no-till and reduced cultivation systems was one of the factors, which was repeated in several trials on site.
Through the IWMPRAISE project, a trial on soil cultivation effects was initiated in a field with a 15-years history of no-tillage. Stéphane Porrez guided the participants through the trial. In 2017, a part of the field was ploughed once, but in the other part of the field, the no-till practice was continuous. This year (2019) the trial was planted with triticale. A dense ryegrass population was evident in the continuous no-till part, whereas the population was under control in the part ploughed once (in 2017). Different levels of mechanical and chemical control was performed within both halves of the field. The chemical control treatments were different combinations of available herbicides for ryegrass control. The mechanical weeding was performed in a very narrow interrow band of 4 cm.
In the below picture, some of the variation among the treatments in ryegrass density is evident.
The last trial the participants visited was an organic trial with focus on crop rotation and cover crops, which was presented by Patrick Retaureau. The crop rotation is a 7-year rotation including faba beans, lucerne and linseeds besides winter wheat and spring barley to exclude the need for external fertilizer. All crops are sown at 15 cm row distance to enable mechanical weeding.
The next national cluster experience workshop is organised by WUR in The Netherlands in WP 4 in June 2019 in Lelystad.