Machines for non-chemical intra-row weed control in narrow and wide-row crops: a review

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Andrea Peruzzi *
Luisa Martelloni
Christian Frasconi
Marco Fontanelli
Michel Pirchio
Michele Raffaelli
(*) Corresponding Author:
Andrea Peruzzi | andrea.peruzzi@unipi.it

Abstract

Intra-row weed control in organic or low-input cropping systems is more difficult than in conventional agriculture. The various mechanical and thermal devices available for intra-row weed control are reported in this review. Low-tech mechanical devices such as cultivators, finger-weeders, brush weeders, and torsionweeders tend to be used in low density crops, while spring-tine harrows are mainly applied in narrow-row high-density crops. Flame weeding can be used for both narrow and wide-row sown crops, provided that the crop is heat-tolerant. Robotic weeders are the most recent addition to agricultural engineering, and only a few are available on the market. Nowadays, robotic weeders are not yet used in small and medium sized farms. In Europe, highincome niche crops are often cultivated in small farms and farmers cannot invest in high-tech solutions. Irrespectively of the choice of low- or high-tech machines, there are several weeders that can be used to reduce the use of herbicides, making of them a judicious use, or decide to avoid them.

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