Chloe MacLaren - Making Peace with the Weeds
The future of agroecological weed management
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Video footage (see below) recorded at the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) 2020 session on 'The future of agroecological weed management.' Chloe MacLaren, Plant Ecologist at Rothamsted Research, shares the latest developments in weed ecology and new insights into the potential for more weed resilient systems... (Download the pdf to view the accompanying presentation).
- Chloe explains that she is presenting results of a review which has drawn together all the recent developments in weed ecology and tried to use them to identify the most promising directions for weed management and weed science.
- Weeds can have positive functions too - in relation to soil quality and farm productivity and biodiversity and ecosystem function.
- When is the cost of getting rid of weeds (effort, money, loss of ecofunction), more than the cost of having weeds?
- The more different types of weeds you have in the field, the least competitive they tend to be with the crop.
- We want farming systems that are resistant to outbreaks of problematic weeds but capable of fostering a diverse weed community to support ecosytem services.
- Repetitive strong control efforts remove diversity whilst promoting persistent weeds that mimic and compete with the crop. A resource-rich enemy-free environment helps weeds survive control and adapt to it.
- Integrated Weed Management +:
- 1 Increase diversity in all its forms
- 2 Use many little hammers not sledgehammers
- 3 Reduce resource availability
- 4 Take advantage of the positive functions of weeds
- The future of weed management is co-existence. Aim for farming systems that are resistant to outbreaks of problematic weeds but capable of fostering a diverse weed community.