See how our Organic Weed Decision Software works in the video below:
Our prior research indicates that although weeds are a major issue for organic farmers, farmers have been slow to adopt ecological weed management (EWM) strategies. Many EWM strategies involve complex value-based tradeoffs. Farmers would benefit from a way to investigate the tradeoffs involved in the context of their own personal goals, priorities, and farm conditions. Farmers could also benefit from additional information about how specific management strategies will perform over time.
We have developed a decision support framework (DSF) that deliberately links performance of EWM strategies to farmer priorities. Our DSF presents the predicted impact of EWM across diverse objectives, and assists farmers in considering an optimal suite of EWM practices for their farm. The software is easy to use, detailed, informative, and provides individualized results. By providing an opportunity to consider and compare alternative strategies, our software will lower barriers to on-farm experimentation with EWM, resulting in improved outcomes for organic farmers and the environment.
As part of this project, we are also developing educational materials on EWM techniques and a field trial on the long-term strategy of zero-seed thereshold (or seedbank elimination), with an emphasis on tracking its effectiveness over time and examing ways to lower the expected drawbacks of that strategy.
The expected results of this project are
- better information to help farmers assess the tradeoffs required by ecological weed management
- materials to help extension professionals better engage organic farmers about the benefits of EWM
- ultimately, greater adoption of EWM strategies over time
The software is free and available online at https://organicweedmanager.com/. It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Users may save their progress and return at a later time to complete it. The software will work from a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, but not from a phone. Farmers and farm advisors are encouraged to use the tool and provide feedback for further development.
The Organic Weed Manager was developed by researchers at The Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and Compass Resource Management. This work is supported by Organic Agriculture Research & Extension funding grant no. 2015-51106-24193 / project number 60049684 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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