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Effect of row width on herbicide and cultivation requirements in row crops

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2009

Frank Forcella
Affiliation:
Research Agronomist, North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Morris, MN 56267;
Mark E. Westgate
Affiliation:
Plant Physiologist, North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Morris, MN 56267;
Dennis D. Warnes
Affiliation:
Professor, West Central Experiment Station, University of Minnesota, Morris, MN 56267.
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Abstract

Crops grown in narrow rows (NR, 0.25 to 0.38 m) shade weed seedlings more than do those grown in traditional wide rows (WR, 0.76 m). NR crops may require less herbicide and interrow cultivation than WR crops for equally effective weed control. This hypothesis was tested by comparing weed control and crop yield in NR and WR crops when the following percentages of recommended application rates (RAR) of standard herbicides were applied: soybean, 0, 50 and 100%; sunflower, 0, 25, 50, and 100%; and corn, 0, 33, and 100% in three separate sets of experiments conducted over 2, 3, and 4 years, respectively. In all treatments with 100% RAR, excellent weed control prevented reductions in crop yield. When only 25 to 50% RAR was applied, weed control was consistently high in NR (82 to 99% control), but variable in WR (42 to 99% control). Weed control and crop yields typically were lowest in NR without herbicides. Interrow cultivation controlled 0 to 81% of weeds in WR crops. In reduced herbicide treatments (25 to 50% RAR), yields of NR soybean and sunflower typically were about equal to those in WR with 100% RAR, but NR corn yields were about 10% less. Considering the reduced herbicide use and lower weed control costs, planting corn, soybean, and sunflower in narrow rows may represent a practical form of low-input production of these important crops.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1992

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