GAIN, innovative management of adventives and a potential solution to pollution from nitrogen fertilisers

Eléonore MALICE
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GAIN, innovative management of adventives and a potential solution to pollution from nitrogen fertilisers

Management of adventives and the pollution from nitrogen fertiliser processing are two major issues in agriculture. The GAIN project aims to reconcile these two issues.

During the 20th century, the simplification of technical itineraries and the significant contribution of nitrogen inputs in mineral form led to the selection of wheat varieties that preferentially extract nitrogen in the form of nitrate to the detriment of the ammonium form, which is too quickly transformed in intensive farming systems. However, many adventives are nitrophilic and consequently favoured by nitrate-rich fertilisers.

In order to remedy this, the GAIN project attempts to combine different strategies allowing winter wheat to develop a competitive advantage over adventive plants, by selectively improving access to the nitrogen resources needed for its growth. One of the strategies studied consists of identifying wheat varieties with an increased capacity to extract and then assimilate nitrogen in ammonium form. Another strategy aims to develop sustainable approaches that slow the transformation of ammonium into nitrate in the soil.

The GAIN project also includes of a survey conducted among Walloon farmers. The purpose of this survey is to establish an overview of the practices of weed control and nitrogen management for winter wheat and to highlight innovative practices in adventive management. Some 130 farmers have already responded!  Still online, the questionnaire can be accessed at the following link: “https://tinyurl.com/enquete-adventices”.  Do not hesitate to pass it on to your networks! This exploratory survey will then be deepened by interviews on farms where the farmer has the opportunity to explain his management method more and the problems he encounters.

This surveys and interviews may also be used to guide the research to innovative adventive management solutions and to identify actions to be implemented to better support Walloon farmers.

This multidisciplinary project is financed by Wallonia (DGO3) and results from a collaboration between the CRA-W and Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech.

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