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Theoretical and practical challenges to an IPM approach to weed management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Matt Liebman
Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
John J. Obrycki
Department of Entomology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
E-mail address:


Modern weed control tactics have played a major role in the productivity of cropping systems. Herbicides have been an effective component of weed control for major crops, greatly reducing yield losses and facilitating reduced tillage systems. Although these benefits are important, weed problems, soil erosion, and environmental concerns persist. Herbicides will continue to play a key role in most production systems, but weed species will continue to evolve and weed communities shift in response to selection pressures. Weed science must develop and incorporate additional practices to create integrated management systems that diversify selection pressures and reduce environmental degradation. Integrated pest management (IPM) may provide a useful framework for the development of integrated weed management systems. The basic principles of IPM are well established and have been successfully applied to many agricultural pests. However, the application of IPM to weed management has lagged behind other pest management disciplines. Many of the concepts and approaches of IPM are relevant to weed management, but these were not developed specifically for weed management and are not sufficient to address it adequately. Principles of IPM unique to weed management need to be delineated, developed, and put into practice. Although IPM for other pests provides an excellent framework, weed science must develop its own theory, management tactics, and monitoring procedures based on the unique characteristics of weed communities.

Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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