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Neither Conventional Nor Organic Farming Methods Are Superior At Eliminating Weed Seeds

April 21, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists trying to determine whether organic or conventional farming methods are better at ridding the soil of weed seeds report inconclusive results: neither method proved superior. The researchers experimented over a two-year period in two states, burying two types of weed seeds – smooth pigweed and common lambsquarters – in mesh bags. Pigweed seeds showed a shorter life span under the organic system in two of four experiments. Organic system lambsquarters seeds had a shorter life span in one of the four experiments, while the conventional methods had the shorter life span in two of four experiments. The researchers acknowledged that their findings “leave an ambiguous answer” to the question.
Silke D Ullrich, et al., "Weed Seed Persistence and Microbial Abundance in Long-Term Organic and Conventional Cropping Systems", Weed Science, April 21, 2011, © BioOne
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