Organic Versus Conventional Methods of Fertilization and Weed Control in a Long Term Rotation of Cereals in Semiarid Spain
Under semiarid conditions the response of cereal crops to chemical fertilizers and weed control practices with herbicides is often reduced. In fact, the economic profitability of agricultural production in many dryland regions is critically affected by high costs of inputs and low crop yields. As a solution, cropping systems like organic farming, obtaining similar yields and promoting environmental sustainability by reducing fertilizer and herbicides, could be an alternative to conventional systems. In this study, 23 trials were performed in five semiarid regions of Spain during 5 yr to compare different fertilizers and weed control methods on durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) yields. The following rotation pattern was developed on the experimental plots: fallow-barley-ground ploughed vetch (Vicia sativa L.)-durum wheat. Plots either received organic fertilizer, chemical fertilizer, or no fertilizer. In addition, three levels of weed control were applied in cereal plots: flex-tine harrow tillage, conventional herbicide, and no weeding. The results indicated that neither the fertilization nor the weed control have effect on the yield crop.