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Keywords:

  • punch planting;
  • flame weeding;
  • stale seedbed;
  • delayed sowing;
  • organic farming;
  • weed control;
  • row crops

Summary

Punch planting is introduced as a new method to reduce weeds within rows in organically grown crops. In this method a hole is punched in the soil, and a seed is dropped into it, without seedbed preparation and soil disturbance outside the hole. In 2 years, punch planting with flame weeding, normal planting with flame weeding and normal planting without flame weeding were compared in fodder beet for five planting dates. Each planting date represented a lag-period since establishment of the stale seedbed. Over all planting times and years, punch planting with flame weeding reduced intra-row weed densities by 30% at the two to four leaf stage of fodder beet compared with normal drilling with flame weeding. Punch planting with flame weeding also reduced intra-row weed densities by 50% compared with normal drilling without flame weeding. In general, there was no improved performance of punch planting with flame weeding over years by later planting, but delayed planting reduced intra-row weed densities significantly. Over 2 years, 240 day degrees Celsius (4 weeks) planting delay reduced intra-row weed densities in the range of 68–86% depending on plant establishment procedure. Punch planting with flame weeding offers a promising method of weed control in organic farming.