The Swiss Living Lab will address issues related to the control of weeds in organic farming, by involving farmers, advisors and researchers.
In organic farming, the control of weeds is a major issue and determines the yield potential of crops. However, the current mechanical techniques are not yet very effective, especially to control weeds in rows. Therefore, many crops still often require a high number of manual labour hours increasing the costs in organic farming.
Robots could revolutionise weed control in the near future. The current robots available are often designed to control weeds between rows. Most advanced robots able to work within rows are those that precisely spray herbicides in small doses, particularly useful for the conventional sector. These robots are still very expensive and can only be used in a few crops.
The potential issues to be addressed are related to the effectiveness of available (or potential future) solutions to control weeds, the production costs and efficiency of the process, the agricultural labour market, farm independency, data ownership, and the organic farming norms and values including the ethical implications.
Living Lab coordinator: FiBL