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La gestione integrata delle malerbe: un approccio sostenibile per il contenimento delle perdite di produzione e la salvaguardia dell’ambiente

Author(s): Giuseppe Zanin | Aldo Ferrero | Maurizio Sattin

Journal: Italian Journal of Agronomy
ISSN 1125-4718

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2s;
Start page: e6;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: decision support systems | integrated management | predictive models | proactive agronomic practices | risk evaluation | weeds.

The main issue that European agriculture is facing is related to maintaining and if possible increasing yields while reducing inputs - especially pesticides, including herbicides. Society is paying increasing attention to the quality of products as well as to the sustainability of the productive system. Control of weeds is necessary to achieve economically acceptable yields. The main tool is chemical weed control. This practice spread quickly after its introduction, due its efficacy and simplicity, but it also generated a series of agronomic and environmental issues. One of the solutions to maintain yields, while reducing herbicide use is the adoption of the Integrated Weed Management (IWM). IWM is based on the knowledge of weeds and their response to cropping practices, weed-crop competitive relationships and chemical and non-chemical means of control. IWM has had a quite remarkable success among researchers, politicians and public opinion, but has rarely been applied by farmers. The limited implementation of this management approach may have different explanations: i) IWM is more complex than conventional management as it requires greater skill and is more time consuming; ii) there is a lack of financial support and demonstration farms, necessary to convince the farmers to adopt it; iii) IWM is considered riskier than conventional management; iv) research has not succeeded in transferring scientific knowledge to the productive systems.The paper includes an analysis of several examples of IWM application in Italy in recent years (development of decision support systems, predictive models, formation of GIRE (Italian Herbicide Resistance Working Group) with the objective of defining their benefits and drawbacks and finding new solutions for the future. It is also underlined that the main difficulty in IWM development is the lack of integration between means of control and proactive agronomic practices that are suitable to prevent the spread and evolution of weeds in the fields.

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