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Preemergence herbicide delays the critical time of weed removal in popcorn

  • Ethann R. Barnes (a1), Stevan Z. Knezevic (a2), Nevin C. Lawrence (a3), Suat Irmak (a4), Oscar Rodriguez (a5) and Amit J. Jhala (a6)...


Understanding the critical time of weed removal (CTWR) is necessary for designing effective weed management programs in popcorn production that do not result in yield reduction. The objective of this study was to determine the CTWR in popcorn with and without a premix of atrazine and S-metolachlor applied PRE. Field experiments were conducted at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center, NE in 2017 and 2018. The experiment was laid out in a split-plot design with PRE herbicide as the main plot and weed removal timing as the subplot. Main plots included no herbicide or atrazine/S-metolachlor applied PRE. Subplot treatments included a weed-free control, a non-treated control, and weed removal timing at V3, V6, V9, V15, and R1 popcorn growth stages and then kept weed free throughout the season. A four-parameter log-logistic function was fitted to percentage popcorn yield loss and growing degree days separately to each main plot. The number of growing degree days, when 5% yield loss was achieved, was extracted from the model and compared between main plots. The CTWR was from the V4 to V5 popcorn growth stage in absence of PRE herbicide. With atrazine/S-metolachlor applied PRE, the CTWR was delayed until V10 to V15. It is concluded that, to avoid yield loss, weeds must be controlled before the V4 popcorn growth stage when no PRE herbicide is applied, and PRE herbicide, such as atrazine/S-metolachlor in this study, can delay the CTWR until the V10 growth stage.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Amit J. Jhala, PhD, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 279 Plant Science Hall, PO Box 830915, Lincoln, NE 68583. Email:


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