Organic Vegetable Crops Require Thousands of Hours of Weeding by Hand

The biggest constraint to the expansion of organic crop growing is the lack of chemical controls for weeds – herbicides. Hand weeding is often required to remove weeds from organic fields. A very large number of worker hours are required for weeding, as reported in a recent article from Germany…

“In organic crop production, manual control of weeds is still laborious in a number of row crops that have poor competitive ability. It is difficult to control weeds that grow within the crop rows (intra-row weeds) by physical weed control; typical figures for hand-weeding time are in the range of 100-400 hours/hectare in carrot, direct-sown leek and onion, and it has even been reported to exceed 1000 hours/hectare.” 

Authors: J Rasmussen¹, C B Henriksen¹, H W Griepentrog² and J Nielsen¹
Affiliations: ¹University of Copenhagen, Denmark; ²University of Hohenheim, Germany
Title: Punch planting, flame weeding and delayed sowing to reduce intra-row weeds in row crops.
Publication: Weed Research. 2011. 51:489-498.

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