The 1st Spanish National Workshop, held online on December 15, 2023, brought together 22 participants, including farmers, advisors, industry representatives, and researchers. The workshop was part of the methodology part of the Oper8 project, aimed at evaluating and prioritizing sustainable solutions for alternative weeding methods.
The meeting was facilitated by the Spanish National Network Operators Francisco Javier Rodríguez Rigueiro and María Rosa Mosquera Losada, supported by experts such as Vanessa Álvarez López, Nuria Ferreiro Domínguez, Antonio Rigueiro Rodríguez and Julián García Berrios, who focused on presenting the solutions and moderating breakout rooms. The workshop addressed vineyards, arable, and horticultural crops, aligning with the Spanish National Action Plan (NAP) drafted within the Oper8. A total of 20 potential solutions, each applicable to two or three crops, were addressed during the workshop. To streamline the process, 20 Excel sheets and an additional 20 tables for comments were generated for criteria assessment.
In breakout group sessions, participants evaluated the solutions based on the Excel sheets. Back in the main meeting room, group representatives explained the results of the evaluation, and participants added some extra clarifications. As a result, 12 solutions were selected by the workshop participants.
The potential solutions were analysed compared to a reference system as traditional management in the average farm of the region of Galicia (NW Spain), the region of precedence for most of the farmers and advisors participating in the meeting.
For arable crops, the top four selected methods were variety selection, bioherbicides, cultural control (cover crops), and mechanical weeding. In the case of horticultural crops, the selected solutions included agroforestry methods, cultural control (cover crops), mulching, and bioherbicides. For viticultural crops, the top solutions were targeted herbicides, agroforestry methods, mulching, and cultural control – cover crops.
From the 12 best practice solutions, three were selected for a detailed cost-benefit analysis. These include “Cultural control – Cover crops” for arable crops, “Mulching with wood chips and herbs” for horticultural crops, and “Agroforestry methods” for viticultural crops. This analysis will provide further insights into the economic viability of these alternative weeding methods.