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Cover crop-based no tillage without herbicide

Publié le 29/03/2021

Cover crop-based no tillage without herbicide: technical itinary design, experimentation and evaluation between farmers and researchers


The technique of direct sowing under plant cover appears today as an innovative alternative to the use of glyphosate, which is now the subject of much debate. The principle of this technique is based on the sowing of a crop, without working the soil, under a plant cover. For example, in the case of a spring crop, a plant cover sown in early fall will develop until the following spring when it will be destroyed by rolling. The crop will then be sown directly under this rolled plant cover.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of this innovation are numerous:

  • limit the development of weeds thanks to the presence of plant cover left on the ground,
  • protect the soil against climatic hazards (e.g. erosion, runoff, etc.),
  • improve soil fertility, reduce water and environmental pollution,
  • save fuel thanks to the reduction of mechanical interventions on the plots,
  • reduce working time.


In order to consider the implementation of this technique on farms, it was necessary to rethink all current production systems and take into account the objectives and constraints of farmers. To respond to this challenge, a participatory approach with Rhône-Alpes farmers has been put in place since 2016 as part of the thesis led by Laura.

14 trials were thus constructed and tested with and among local farmers. Since the introduction of this practice, more and more farmers have shown interest and willingness to conduct trials on their plots.


Laura Vincent Caboud – Agrecology and Environment Unit