Sugarbeet, grown for biofuel, is being considered as an alternate cool-season crop in the southeastern United States. Previous research identified ethofumesate PRE and phenmedipham + desmedipham POST as herbicides that controlled troublesome cool-season weeds in the region, specifically cutleaf evening-primrose. Research trials were conducted from 2014 through 2016 to evaluate an integrated system of sweep cultivation and reduced rates of ethofumesate PRE and/or phenmedipham+desmedipham POST for weed control in sugarbeet grown for biofuel. There were no interactions between the main effects of cultivation and herbicides for control of cutleaf evening-primrose and other cool-season species in two out of three years. Cultivation improved control of cool-season weeds, but the effect was largely independent of control provided by herbicides. Of the herbicide combinations evaluated, the best overall cool-season weed control was from systems that included either a 1/2X or 1X rate of phenmedipham+desmedipham POST. Either rate of ethofumesate PRE was less effective than phenmedipham+desmedipham POST. Despite improved cool-season weed control, sugarbeet yield was not affected by cultivation each year of the study. Sugarbeet yields were greater when treated with any herbicide combination that included either a 1/2X or 1X rate of phenmedipham+desmedipham POST compared with either rate of ethofumesate PRE alone or the nontreated control. These results indicate that cultivation has a very limited role in sugarbeet grown for biofuel. The premise of effective weed control based on an integration of cultivation and reduced herbicide rates does not appear to be viable for sugarbeet grown for biofuel.
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