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Herbaceous plants can invade crops and be harmful to farmers… But do we have deep, global knowledge about the impacts of these weeds? Is the response – which seems intuitive – of eradication promoted by agro-industry so beneficial? … Pesticides, synthetic chemical fertilizers, gasoline for machinery have a very high economic cost… not to mention the exorbitant ecological impact. We think that the future of agriculture is ecological, more technical and less dependent on oil.

 

The Encín experimental farm, dedicated to organic farming since 2000.

ECOSECANO is the project that promotes organic farming in dryland herbaceous crops in the community of Madrid from the Agricultural Research | Community of Madrid and based on Finca del Encín, near Álcala de Henares. The ECOSECANO LAB brings together scientists and farmers to research ecological agricultural techniques.

During spring 2022, I participated with technical assistance in the “Agroecological management of weeds in dryland herbaceous crops in the Community of Madrid.

 

Laboratorio de malherbología en el Instituto Madrileño de Investigación y Desarrollo Rural, Agrario y Alimentario (IMIDRA), sede el ECOSECANO LAB.

In 2022, a very interesting investigation was launched for several years that studies the role of adventitious plants in crop plots with a multi-annual rotation alternating wheat and chickpea. An experiment has been launched with a hundred plots of a hundred m2 that allows measuring the effect of various cultivation methods on the community of weeds and cultivated plants.

Beginning of April. A wheat and chickpea rotation is a model of traditional Spanish dryland agriculture, reproduced with a hundred experimental mini-plots.

The Pheasant’s Eye (Adonis aestivalis) is a mesicolous plant, which is associated with herbaceous crops, particularly cereals.

Sampling of adventitious plants by the quadrat method, here in a non-cultivated control herbaceous band.

The Madwort, Asperugo procumbems, the only species in its genus and therefore very easy to recognize. Typical villous boragenaceae, rough and with blue flowers. The calyx is showy, growing long after flowering and divided into five lobes.

Beginning of May. The earliest adventitious vegetation begins to yellow and the poppies signal the end of spring.

In the laboratory, measuring and weighing the plants (adventices and wheat) collected.

The surface of the leaves is measured by photographic analysis. This process entails beautiful and ephemeral compositions, here of Common poppy (Papaver rhoeas).

Another mesicolous, the Rough poppy (Papaver hybridum) with its hairy flower bud and crimson petals.