Wild field herbs

Background

Farmers generally do not welcome wild herbs on their land. They compete with planted crops and are therefore often seen as weeds. To offer crops better growth conditions, farmers try to keep the number of wild herbs as low as possible. Since the mid-20th Century mechanical and chemical control has led to the suppression and extinction of many wild herbs. As a result, numerous animal species have disappeared from the agricultural landscape. Many insect species are dependent on a single plant species as a food source.
In organic farming wild herbs also become “problem herbs” when they reduce the yields of crop plants too strongly. Despite this, chemical control is often avoided. Thus mechanical tillage becomes all the more important. When grooming, weeds are uprooted by the machine’s long tines or buried under the earth.
The cultivation associations of organic farming have committed to protecting animal and plant species as well as their respective habitats. Wild herbs can only be preserved when special cultivation procedures are developed.

Our contribution

Due to their high lime content, some of our cultivation areas are preferential locations for particularly sensitive and endangered wild herbs. In these areas, for example, plant communities grow together with the Nigella (Nigella arvense), the Blue Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) or the Speedwell (Veronica opaca). We avoid de-weeding the edges of these areas, in order to give plants the opportunity to develop and to form seed heads for propagation. In doing so, we take into account that sown crops – such as wheat – cannot be harvested due to a too high weed density.
We partly avoid liming the soil on one of our fields so as to promote plant species that thrive on acidic soils such as Lambs Lettuce (Arnoseris minima). Wild herbs attract many insects that, in turn, can be beneficial for our crop growth.