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A New Approach To Determine When to Control Weeds

  • Antonio Berti (a1), Claudio Dunan (a2), Maurizio Sattin (a1), Giuseppe Zanin (a3) and Philip Westra (a2)...

Abstract

A methodological approach to determine the optimum time to control weeds that integrates aspects of weed biology, weed-crop competition, and economics is presented. The approach is based on the concept of Time Density Equivalent: this is defined as the density of weed plants that germinate with the crop and compete until harvest that causes the same yield loss caused by a group of weeds with a given density, time of emergence, and time of removal. A model was developed that accounts for pattern of weed emergence and permits determination of timing of weed control that minimizes economic loss due to weeds emerging both before and after treatments. The outcomes of the model are presented with two examples: corn in competition with velvetleaf and soybean in competition with Amaranthus cruentus. For both crops, six different weed control strategies involving preemergence, chemical, and mechanical postemergence treatments are considered. The results obtained with the model are compared with the calculation of net margin based on assumptions of simultaneous emergence of crop and weeds and no effect of different times of control. Different control strategies are compared considering not only maximum net margin but also its dependence on time of control, because a strategy with a lower value of maximum net margin, but a flatter net margin curve, allows more flexibility of time of control.

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