Eight field experiments with maize (Zea mays L.), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) and soyabean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) were carried out in central Italy in order to evaluate the effects of mechanical and chemical methods (spring-tine harrowing, hoeing, hoeing-ridging, split-hoeing, finger-weeding, herbicides in the row + inter-row hoeing, herbicides broadcast) on weed control, weed seed rain and crop yield. The choice of chemical and mechanical treatments in maize and soyabean compared to sunflower, required to be managed more carefully in order to maximize the weed control reducing yield losses. A global rating of weed control methods, based on their weed control efficacy, was obtained as useful means to assist farmers and technicians to choose the more appropriate weed control method. The combination of herbicides intra-row and hoeing inter-row gave best efficacy (on average 99% of weed control), with a 50% reduction in the chemical load in the environment. Hoeing-ridging gave good results, both inter- and intra-row (on average 93% of weed control); this method was also effective in reducing competitive ability and seed production of uncontrolled weeds. Split-hoeing or finger-weeding showed some limitations giving satisfactory results only when combined. Harrowing gave lowest weed control, although when combined to other mechanical methods, can help achieve a better efficacy.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.