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Weed species diversity in spring barley varies with crop rotation and tillage, but not with nutrient source

  • F. Craig Stevenson (a1), Anne Légère (a2), Régis R. Simard (a3), Denis A. Angers (a3), Denis Pageau (a4) and Jean Lafond (a4)...

Abstract

The development of sustainable farming systems depends on our ability to predict and manage the response of weed communities to changes in cropping practices. A study was established at Normandin, Québec, Canada, to investigate the influence of liquid dairy manure and mineral fertilizer, as well as chisel and moldboard plow tillage systems, in a spring barley monoculture and a 3-yr spring barley-forage rotation that included red clover and timothy. Weed species richness (Margalef's DMG), evenness (Shannon's E), and diversity (Shannon's H') were examined in these treatments from 1992 to 1995. Nutrient source had no effect on any of the three diversity indices. Evenness values were extremely low in all years, suggesting dominance of a few weed species in most treatments. Weed species richness and diversity generally were greater in the barley-forage rotation compared with the monoculture. Tillage effects on richness and diversity varied with crop rotation. Margalef's DMG and Shannon's H' were greater in 1993 and 1995, but they were lower in 1994 when chisel was compared with moldboard plowing in the monoculture. In 1994, chickweed density was about five times greater in the chisel-plowed monoculture compared with other treatment combinations of rotation and tillage. In 1995, only one species with a density of six plants m−2 occurred in the moldboard-plowed monoculture compared with three to six species and densities of 51 to 832 plants m−2 in the other rotation by tillage treatments. Climatic conditions and herbicide use patterns in the different crop rotation treatments may have contributed to the more dynamic nature of weed species diversity in the barley monoculture. Reduced frequency of tillage and herbicide application; management of the forage stands, especially with regard to their termination; and improved soil resource availability likely explained the increased but more stable diversity of the weed communities in the barley-forage rotation.

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Keywords

Weed species diversity in spring barley varies with crop rotation and tillage, but not with nutrient source

  • F. Craig Stevenson (a1), Anne Légère (a2), Régis R. Simard (a3), Denis A. Angers (a3), Denis Pageau (a4) and Jean Lafond (a4)...

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