The oilseed rape conventional system can be moved to a more sustainable one by reducing herbicide application whilst ensuring at the same time effective weed control, maintaining oilseed rape yield, and quality and increasing profitability. Over three growing season periods, two field experiments at two different Southern Italy locations were carried out. In both sites, a conventional weed-control management system (recommended label dose), four alternative low-herbicide treatments, and an untreated control were compared. We monitored weeds and crop response to herbicide treatments, and calculated the net economic return, within site and year, for each treatment. In experiment 1, a half dose of herbicide did not show any significant difference in seed yield with respect to conventional treatment in two of three growing seasons. In experiment 2, compared with the conventional system, weedy control and the lowest applied herbicide dose treatment (25% of the recommended label dose) did not underline significant differences with regard to yield level. Net returns from the half dose of metazachlor herbicide were not significantly lower than net returns from conventional treatment in experiment 1 (on a three-year average 748 vs. 812 € ha-1, respectively). Our findings suggest that the herbicide dose might be cut by at least 50% in order not to jeopardize negative effects on production and economic performances.
Low-input herbicide management: Effects on rapeseed production and profitability / Deligios, Paola A.; Carboni, Gianluca; Farci, Roberta; Solinas, Stefania; Ledda, Luigi. - In: SUSTAINABILITY. - ISSN 2071-1050. - 10:7(2018), p. 2258. [10.3390/su10072258]