Weed control is an important skill for farmers, allowing them to obtain yields and profits from their land. The ‘Weed Science, Field Crops and Viticulture’ Research Group deals with weeds that compete with field crops, vegetables and vines.
Recognising weeds at the seedling stage (1) is crucial for taking appropriate weed-control measures. Monitoring the propagation of problematic, often neophytic plants such as yellow nutsedge (2) is as crucial as the testing of new herbicides in the field (3).
Weed science at Changins has played a decisive role in establishing a productive national strategy against ragweed (4), whose highly allergenic pollen is a threat to human health. The use of grass cover between the vine rows (5), which contributes to a reduction in the use of herbicides in vineyards, is also based on the experience of our Research Group. The book Flore des vignes (‘Vineyard Flora’) (6), written by Agroscope researchers, enables identification of the main species that are present in the vineyard.
Because weeds can develop a resistance to herbicides applied annually in most crops (7), the effectiveness of herbicides must be rigorously observed (8). The Research Group also plays a consultative role in the weeding of communication channels (9), railway tracks and roads. In the immediate future, the research priority in weed science is to discover alternatives to herbicides.