This case study focuses on reducing herbicide use in arable cropping systems to improve water quality in the Gimone catchment, Midi-Pyrénées, France.
VALERIE themes covered:
1. Crop rotation, soil cover management and integrated pest management ►
2. Eco-system and social services in agriculture and forestry ►
3. The management of agricultural soils as integrated agro-ecological systems ►
Through the ‘agro-ecological plan for France’ project, a farmer co-operative was established to improve water quality in the Gimone catchment, primarily via the reduction of herbicide use on arable land. The project aims to inform and share knowledge and technological innovations as well as to promote good agricultural practice.
Location: Midi-Pyrénées region of south western France
Main land use: arable production (predominantly cereals; also sunflower, maize, oilseed rape & protein crops) and mixed farming
Stakeholders: technical institutes, agricultural chambers, farmers, research institutes, storage agencies and agricultural co-operatives
o Strategies to reduce the impact of herbicide use, such as improving product efficiency, mechanical weeding or a combination of the two
o Use of precision farming techniques (e.g. fertiliser placement and variable seed rates) and cover crop management to minimise environmental impact
o Spatial management of varieties to control pests
o Promotion of vegetal proteins for human health
o Maintenance of a pseudo permanent ground cover
Case study updates:
• An initial meeting was held in summer 2014 and was integrated with another farmer group meeting, where the farmers are strongly motivated and already active in implementing sustainable practices. The on-farm demonstrations of innovative farming practices are being developed.
• At the second meeting, twenty farmers were among the stakeholders who reviewed relevant VALERIE innovation factsheets and discussed the possible field trials.
• Issue to be addressed in the field trials:
o Combined cropping of durum wheat & Fabaceae
• Trials are planned to start in 2016.