Situation at eAgronom demo farm: peas are flowering, problems with weeds on the clover field

Piibe Vaher

Monday, July 1, 2024

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As we are finishing up with the main activities on our fields at the demo farm, it is a good time to do a summary of things that have happened.

About the growth of the peas on different cultivation methods

Field peas, which cover about 80% of our demo farm’s area, have recovered from pea weevils’ attack and the rainfall at the end of May has significantly contributed to the development of the plants. Most of the plants are at the flowering stage. To control the aphids in the field, we used insecticide (BBCH 60, the beginning of flowering together with fungicide). We have not spotted any pea moths in the pheromone traps, but we will continue monitoring them.

Field peas on the area that was ploughed (14.06.2024).

The plants in the ploughed plot stand out with uneven growth as there are both tall and short plants. This is presumably caused due to heavy damage caused by weevils at the beginning of growth and partly also caused by uneven sowing depth.

Field pea in the area with reduced tillage (14.06.2024).

By visual evaluation, it seems that the reduced tillage suited the peas the most - in that area, the plants are dense, connected by tendrils and lushy.

Field peas on the area that was direct drilled (14.06.2024).

Plants in the direct drilling area also have weevil damage, which occurs more on the middle pairs of leaves so the damage occurred in the later growing stage. In addition, the area is characterised by slight unevenness due to uneven emergence. Some seeds have fallen on the field surface during sowing and the soil temperature in the direct drill area may have been lower than in cultivated areas.

About seeding rate experiment 

We used different sowing rates on one part of the field - 60, 80, 100 and 120 germinating seeds/m2. This year, the most even coverage with plants has been achieved with 100 and more germinating seeds per m2. It can be speculated that in a wetter year 80 seeds would have been enough, but we can verify this theory with experiments in the following years.

60 seeds per m2 (14.06.2024).

80 seeds per m2 (14.06.2024).

100 seeds per m2 (14.06.2024).

120 seeds per m2 (14.06.2024).

The rest of the areas have been sown with the seeding rate of 80 germinating seeds, and according to the characteristics of the soil, there are areas with very good coverage, but there are also sparser areas. In less covered areas, pea plants cannot compete with weeds and the surface coverage achieved is not sufficient to shade emerging weeds until the harvest. In the field, there are some patches of thistles, couch grass and common hemp-nettle.

Should herbicide be applied before or after sprouting?

A comparison of herbicides shows that pre-emergence, post-emergence and a combination of the two have generally done a good job. In order to check the effectiveness of the herbicides, there is also an unsprayed area in the field with a wide spectrum of weeds.

Small spots of thistle and other weeds are present in the field (14.06.2024).

In the field of pre-emergence herbicide use, large common hemp-nettle plants stand out the most. The post-emergence herbicide area also has hemp-nettle, but the herbicide has damaged it to some extent and inhibited the growth of weed plants. A full-rate post-emergence herbicide has performed better than a split-rate spray.

Common hemp-nettle and pea growing in the area where pre-emergence herbicide was sprayed (14.06.2024).

A combination of pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicides seems to be the reasonable choice in order to spread the risk. With such a strategy, it is possible to prevent the rapid growth of weeds in a wet year and to control the so-called second wave of weeds in years with uneven rainfall.

We were late with sowing the white clover

White clover area was sown by two methods: broadcasting with a harrow and direct drilling. We have to admit that we were late with sowing and therefore there are many large weeds in the field, although glyphosate was used in the spring.

Clover plants that have sprouted (14.06.2024).

The clover plants have sprouted and are slowly gaining their strength. We are trying to get the situation under control by mowing, but there is no certainty whether and how well this method will work or how quickly the clover will be able to compete with the weeds. In hindsight, we should have repeated the glyphosate spray before sowing.

In addition, we believe that it is easier to establish clover seeding by sowing it under the main crop. In this case, it is possible to use a herbicide before sowing and give the clover a so-called head start. This fall we will have to decide if the clover plants have grown enough to be competitive or if we have to start from scratch next spring.

Weeds on clover fields (14.06.2024).

There is a similar situation with flowering plant strip surrounding the field - the sown crops have sprouted, but they are fighting with weeds. We are not too worried about this area and we hope that sunflower, phacelia, flax, buckwheat, etc. will be able to compete with weeds. If necessary, we will reseed the flower strip next year.

Flowers on the strip have sprouted, but so have the weeds (14.06.2024).

About eAgronom’s demo farm

In autumn 2023, eAgronom and Rannu Seeme signed a cooperation agreement in which our trial farm was born. eAgronom is responsible for farming 20 hectares of land in Rannu, Estonia. Our farm is managed by following conservation agriculture practices and our aim is to get real hands-on experience about adopting new practices to a farm with the goal of increasing profitability. Our field is going to be direct drilled with control plots of 1 ha ploughed and 1 ha minimally tilled each year. In addition, we grow cover crops before spring crops and we surround the field with a strip of wildflowers and green fallow crops. We are following a 5 year rotation of: winter oilseed rape → winter wheat → peas → winter wheat → barley. 

You can find more results and info about eAgronom's demofarm here.
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Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Have any questions?

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Have any questions?

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Have any questions?

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

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