Weed Management in Organic Conservation Tillage/No Tillage

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $146,314.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
John Cardina
Ohio State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, rapeseed, rye, soybeans, wheat


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, participatory research
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, mulches - killed, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Organic and no-tillage are two farming systems adopted by growers in an effort to enhance soil quality for grain crop production. Once considered incompatible, organic and no-till methods are now coming together through innovation of Ohio farmers who are finding new ways to control weeds while maintaining or enhancing soil quality. Our overall goal is to merge the best sustainable practices of organic and no-till grain farmers to develop and demonstrate weed management methods that work in no-till organic systems.

    Short-term outcomes will be increased farmer access to research-based information on allelopathic cover crops and use of natural products for weed control in no-till systems. Long-term outcomes include increased adoption of chemical-free no-till production, increased success of weed control in these systems, and associated improvement in soil and water quality. A group of organic farmers will work with OSU scientists to design, implement, and evaluate experiments conducted in certified organic fields on the OSU research farm. Strip trials of promising techniques will be conducted on participating farms.

    Outreach products will include a project web site, a generously illustrated handbook explaining the integration of cover crops and natural products for weed control in organic no-till, and a workshop, facilitated by farmers and researchers, on weed management at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association annual meeting. Evaluation will be based on farmer participation, surveys, and interviews at field days and workshops.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    -Develop agronomic practices for managing allelopathic brassica cover crops to control weeds while enhancing soil quality.

    -Evaluate planting time and method for establishment after corn, soybean, and wheat crops.

    -Determine optimum proportions of mixed brassica and oat cover crops for weed suppression.

    -Evaluate grower experience in on-farm trials using brassica/oat cover crops.

    -Evaluate the effectiveness of various natural products for suppressing weeds;
    Screen essential oils, vinegar products, organic soaps, etc. against typical grass and broadleaf weeds in greenhouse studies;
    Evaluate effectiveness of promising natural materials for suppressing weeds that appear in a cover crop system.

    -Evaluate grower experience using natural products on organic farms.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.