With herbicide resistance, a lack of new active ingredients, and legislation reducing the number of available herbicide actives, growers in the Latvia and EU are being pushed towards biological and cultural methods of weed control. To improve grower confidence in alternative weed control strategies, a HORIZON 2021 European project called OPER8 will share guidance and advice on alternative methods which are proven to be effective on farm against key weeds.
Herbicides are the second most widely sold category of pesticides in the EU but can have detrimental impacts on the environment, natural resources, and human health. The number of active ingredients available is increasingly limited by legislation, while simultaneously, the efficacy of remaining herbicides is threatened by resistant weed populations. Uptake of alternative weed control is crucial for sustainable crop production, yet many farmers are reluctant to adopt alternative methods because of the perceived complexity and costs.
A new EU-wide network has been launched to support and promote solutions for alternative weed control. OPER8 is a three-year HORIZON 2021 European project led by the Agricultural University of Athens and supported by eight partner organisations from seven countries. The overall objective is to communicate, demonstrate and promote alternative weed control solutions to key stakeholders through networks across the EU.
The Oper8 project builds upon the findings from eight European Innovation Projects, of which ADAS were involved in two, which investigated alternative weed control methods across Europe. An inventory of factsheets, videos, e-learning modules, demonstration events, and workshops will be used to disseminate the information gathered during these projects. It will also provide policy guidance in the form of targeted National action plans.
The OPER8 project is based on eight innovative weed control solutions at the EU level. In Latvia, the Plant Protection Research Institute “Agrihorts” together with the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies successfully implemented Project RONIN: Development of robotized weed control platform. The project aimed to develop a weed control device capable of autonomously moving around the field, identifying weeds and distinguishing them from crops, as well as using a high-energy laser or a precisely positioned mechanical unit to destroy the weed or significantly disrupt its further growth.
Be active! Take the survey! Its purpose is to gather information about currently used weed control methods, problems faced by farmers, and possible alternative weed control solutions!
The OPER8 survey is intended for farmers, consultants, agricultural researchers, representatives of agriculture-related governmental institutions, and NGOs, for representatives of agricultural services, machinery, raw materials, and equipment industry.
Link to survey: OPER8 Survey for Assessing Needs, Gaps and Barriers https://adas-survey.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/oper8-needs-gaps-barriers-survey
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The OPER8 project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101060591.