While the long-term aim of ENDURE is to reduce agriculture’s reliance on pesticides, in particular through its work examining the redesign of cropping systems and non-chemical alternatives, there is a recognition that short-term progress on reducing the impact of pesticides can be achieved through strategies aimed at optimising their use.
You can read more about the redesigning of cropping systems by clicking here, or downloading the leaflets below. Information on non-chemical alternatives is also available in our biological control and Integrated Weed Management leaflets below. In the shorter term, members of the ENDURE team which examined Decision Support Systems (DSS) are continuing their work on optimising pesticide use through both the PURE project and through DSSHerbicide, a project focused on encouraging efficient and more environmentally friendly weed control in wheat crops across the southern Baltic region.
A key player in DSSHerbicide is the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at Aarhus University, one of ENDURE's Danish partners, as the aim is to capitalise on the experience of Danish researchers, advisers and farmers in developing and using IT-based DSS for crop protection. The goal is to share this knowledge with Poland and Germany, which will require adjusting the system to take into account local differences such as languages, weed species and herbicides.
The project was presented at the recent conference on pesticide risk and use reduction in Eastern and Central Europe and the Baltics held at the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR), ENDURE’s Polish partner, by Aarhus University’s Per Rydahl.
Per explained that the use of herbicides can be significantly reduced without any increase in risk for farmers’ livelihoods if they can be used according to:
For example, he pointed out, total kill is neither necessary nor possible and some weed species can be controlled by very low doses of herbicides.
DSSHerbicide is using a three-step ‘decision engine’: an assessment of the need for weed control, the selection of single herbicides and calculation of dose rates, and the optimisation of tank mixtures. Hands-on testing by farmers and advisers is being conducted and validation trials will be conducted against current local ‘best practice’ recommendations.
DSSHerbicide was launched in the autumn of 2010 at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, with 40 farmers, advisers and scientists from the three countries meeting to network, share their experiences and discuss their approaches to the project.
Participants included farmer Henrik Munk, from Bornholm, Denmark, who, alongside his crop adviser, Ole Harild, has used the Planteværn Online crop protection system for several years. This system has been developed by the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and fellow ENDURE partner, the Knowledge Centre for Agriculture, and the kick-off meeting provided participants with an update on how it works and the research which has gone into creating an effective system.
Henrik, who farms 200 hectares of wheat, spring barley, winter barley, oats and rye grass, alongside 350 sows, typically chooses a standard solution for autumn spraying adjusted according to his own knowledge of the farm's weed problems. He follows up with a spring spraying at which time he relies on current advice from Planteværn Online and adviser Ole Harild.
"Ole accompanies me in the field in the spring," he explained. "We check the weeds and how good the effect of the autumn ploughing has been. The spring spraying is regulated according to Planteværn Online. It is a sure tool that works well. Those cases when the effect has not been optimal have been due to my being too late or spraying conditions being less than perfect. If you want reduce the dose then it is very important that the spraying conditions are good."
With the aid of the DSS farmers can restrict spraying to the exact spot where it is required and with the exact required amount. In this way the farmer and the environment are spared excess use of herbicides.
* Parts of this article were adapted from Danish weed control in Polish and German , written by Aarhus University's Janne Hansen. The full version is available on the DSSHerbicide website.
For more information on redesigning cropping systems:
Winter crops based cropping systems case study publications
|ENDURE Deliverable DR2.16: Designing innovative crop protection strategies in arable rotations (winter crops based cropping systems)||
ENDURE_DR2.16 [pdf - 1,24 MB]
|Number 1: IPM in Danish winter crops based cropping systems||
Winter Crops Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 1 [pdf - 389,03 kB]
|Number 2: Redesigning cropping systems in three French regions||
Winter Crops Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 2 [pdf - 366,97 kB]
|Number 3: Reducing pesticide inputs in winter cropping systems in the UK||
Winter Crops Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 3 [pdf - 630,38 kB]
Maize based cropping systems case study publications
|Number 1: Maize Based Cropping Systems in Four European Regions: SWOT Analysis and IPM Considerations||
Maize Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 1 [pdf - 383,96 kB]
|Number 2: General Recommendations for IPM in European Maize Based Cropping Systems: Innovative Methods and Tools||
Maize Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 2 [pdf - 205,53 kB]
|Number 3: Innovative IPM Tools for Maize Based Cropping Systems in Northern Europe||
Maize Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 3 [pdf - 327,35 kB]
|Number 4: Métodos Innovadores en IPM Para Sistemas de Cultivo Basados en el Maíz en el Valle del Ebro, España||
Maize Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 4 [pdf - 220,39 kB]
|Number 5: Strumenti Innovativi di IPM Raccomandati per Sistemi Colturali Basati sul Mais in Pianura Padana, Italia||
Maize Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 5 [pdf - 346,55 kB]
|Number 6: Innovatív integrált növényvédelmi módszerek és eszközök a kukoricára alapozott növénytermesztési rendszerekben||
Maize Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 6 [pdf - 1.010,08 kB]
For more information on non-chemical alternatives:
Biocontrol in Selected Crops publications
|Number 1: Grapevine||
Biocontrol Number One_Grapevine [pdf - 169,32 kB]
|Number 2: Tomato||
Biocontrol Number Two_Tomato [pdf - 254,99 kB]
|Number 3: Maize||
Biocontrol Number Three_Maize [pdf - 309,00 kB]
Integrated Weed Management publications
|Number 1: Maize cropping with less herbicide||
Integrated Weed Management Case Study Guide 1 [pdf - 793,67 kB]
|Also available in German: Faltblatt Nummer 1: Maisanbau mit weniger Herbizideinsatz||
Integrated Weed Management Case Study Guide 1 (German) [pdf - 718,45 kB]
|With Dutch summary||
Integrated Weed Management Case Study Guide 1 (Dutch) [pdf - 371,11 kB]
|With French summary||
Integrated Weed Management Case Study Guide 1 (French) [pdf - 495,85 kB]