The content of weed seeds in the soil based on the management system
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In 2008 an experiment was set up on the field in Eerika experimental station (Estonian University of Life Sciences) as a 5-field crop rotation: barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with undersown red clover, red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), pea (Pisum sativum L.), potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). The objective of the study was to measure the content of weed seeds in the soil and to evaluate the diversity of the species at the beginning of the period of organic production in 2011. In conventional farming systems without fertilizer (Con I) and conventional farming with mineral fertilizer (Con II) herbicides were used for weed control. All the crops in Con II system received P 25 kg ha-1 and K 95 kg ha-1 , but the application rates of mineral nitrogen fertilizer differed. In organic systems (Org I – organic farming based on winter cover crop and Org II – organic farming based on winter cover crop and manure), the winter cover crops (ryegrass after winter wheat, winter oilseed rape after pea, winter rye after potato) were sown after the harvest and were ploughed into the soil as green manure in spring. Organic farming systems (Org II) had a negative effect on the content of weed seeds in the soil (2.0–22.7% less seeds than in other variants). The seeds of Chenopodium album were the most abundant among summer annual weeds and the seeds of Viola arvensis among winter weeds in the soil. Organic farming measures increased the domination of Chenopodium album – the dominance index D’ was increased by 0.09–0.14 compared to conventional variants. The content of seeds of winter weed Viola arvensis in Org II variant was decreased by 82%. The index of species evenness J’ and Shannon Wiener diversity index H’ were lower in organic plots by 0.10– 0.18 and 0.60–0.19, respectively. Org II variants showed the best results based on the decrease of soil weed seed bank and distribution of the weed species.