SusCrop- ERA-NET

Cofund on Sustainable
Crop Production



Applying and Combining Disturbance and Competition for an agro-ecological management of creeping perennial weeds


The objective of AC/DC-weeds is to implement more and better agro-ecological management for creeping perennials in arable farming. Overall aim is to reduce plough-tillage in organic and conventional farming – and to replace glyphosate use in the latter also. Cropping systems with less herbicide use to control perennial weeds put less pressure on the environment, will be more resilient and would allow more biodiversity in the annual weed vegetation.

Novel approaches for agro-ecological management of perennial weeds demand to exploit, combine and evaluate cultural and physical control and bio-based herbicides. Creeping perennials are suppressed by disturbance or through competition hence, an agro-ecological management must activate these processes in a suitable and rational way. We propose to investigate new ways of agro-ecological management based on a better understanding of these processes.

Seven partners from 5 European countries, representing a considerable area of Central and Northern European climatic and arable production conditions want to collaborate. AC/DC-weeds will be organized in 7 work packages. Each work package uses the most promising methodology regarding the state of knowledge, expected results and the envisaged outreach.

New ways of applying disturbance subterranean without turning the soil will be examined in field experiments together with defoliation strategies via cutting or biocompatible herbicides. Results from joint field experiments will test efficacy and practicability of these new ways. The effects of enhanced competition on creeping perennials are frequently investigated. Existing results will be systematized in a meta-analysis. The excerpting knowledge will feed a trait-based joint database. Three most important species in Central and Northern Europe differ in biology and ecology. Specific data for Elymus repens, Cirsium arvense and Sonchus arvense are pooled, knowledge gaps identified and close through specific semi-field experiments. Three partners take responsibility to tidy existing knowledge each for one of the three species. They will run collaborative semi-field experiments to close knowledge gaps. Important is to perform agro-ecological knowledge on the species for qualitative modelling and graphical visualization. Due to their clonal life-style resulting in patches monitoring whole fields is vital for perennials. We follow new approaches to spatially explicit monitor perennials with available technical tools like cameras or sensor installed in drones or vehicles. Reliable algorithms will be developed to monitor perennials. Qualitative models to analyse the impact of cropping practices, soil, weather and field environment on perennial infestations will be designed. These models can combine data from various sources including literature, survey and experimental data, and knowledge generated by expert assessment and simulation models. With the help of a novel interactive graphical web tool spatial visualization for different scenarios of applying disturbance and competition will be developed. Learning about the effects of different tactics virtually applied on own observed field infestations will support agro-ecological management on-farm solutions.

Coordination fundamentally ensures data flow, exchange and communication among partners. A data framework is provided to feed experimental results, descriptive and analytical trait and species based approaches into technological applications. Dissemination of the results of all WPs and partners is coordinated and supported. As outreaching results will aim on altering cropping technologies, evaluation of effects on the environment and in economics will accomplish dissemination. AC/DC-weeds addresses a range of stakeholders from the land use sector. Communication and dissemination will target advisors and farmers in conventional and organic farming and other stakeholder like land owner and nature conservation.


Prof Bärbel Gerowitt
University of Rostock (UR), Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Crop Health, GERMANY



Prof Lars Olav Brandsæter
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Plant Sciences, NORWAY

Dr Kirsten Tørresen
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research – NIBIO, Department of Invertebrate Pests and Weeds, NORWAY

Dr Jukka Salonen
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Natural Resources, FINLAND

Dr Jesper Rasmussen
University of Copenhagen, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, DENMARK

Dr Marie-Helene Robin
INRA, UMR AGIR - AGroecologies, Innovations & Ruralities, FRANCE

INRA UMR agronomie, environnement et agronomie, FRANCE