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Growers desire more techniques to control weeds in horticultural crops that are grown organically and consumed directly, such as red raspberry. Abrasive grit emited via high air pressure is a new method for controlling weeds. Grit derived from corn cobs was examined for its efficacy during the year of raspberry establishment for 2 to 3 years at three sites (seven site-years) and compared with efficacy of hand-weeding as well as no weed control. Grit was applied once or twice weekly after raspberry transplantation in spring until weed emergence ceased in mid to late July. Weeds and raspberry growth were assessed in August. Grit was effective in controlling broadleaf weeds, averaging 94% control across site-years, but control of grass weeds was less than 10%. Total weed (broadleaf plus grass) control across site-years ranged from 51% to 96% and averaged 78%. Raspberry cane growth was affected by weeds, and grit-weeding at least partially alleviated these effects. Thus, abrasive grit allows growers to manage broadleaf weeds effectively without herbicides or soil tillage. However, additional research is needed to determine the correct amounts and timing of grit applications, as well as more efficacious types of grit, to control grass weeds.
Weed competition, especially within the crop row, limits the productivity and profitability of organic crop production. Abrasive weeding, a mechanical alternative to hand weeding, uses air-propelled grits to control small weed seedlings growing within the crop row. Recent research has demonstrated the successful use of abrasive weeding to reduce weed competition and increase yields in organic maize (Zea mays), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and green and red pepper crops (Capsicum annuum), but the profitability of this weed control tactic has not been assessed. Our objective was to determine the profitability of abrasive weeding using empirical yield data from three previously published studies, a range of crop prices and revenues, and a range of costs for wages, grit applicator ownership, tractor use, abrasive grits, and fuel. Results suggest that abrasive weeding was not profitable in organic maize production, and may reduce net income by US$223–3537 ha−1 compared with inter-row cultivation alone for weed control. The cost of abrasive weeding in maize was largely dependent on the cost of abrasive grits and the cost to own a four-row grit applicator (US$736–2105 yr−1). However, abrasive weeding was less expensive than hand weeding, especially as the scale of production increased. Abrasive weeding was profitable in tomato and pepper crops and increased net mean income by US$12,251–33,265 ha−1. However, abrasive weeding was not 100% effective and hand weeding for weed-free conditions was always the most profitable approach to in-row weed management in vegetable crops. The profit potential of the hand-weeded, weed-free treatments demonstrates the importance of weed control in high-value specialty crops–even those grown in plastic mulch film. Despite the profit potential for hand weeding observed here, labor is increasingly difficult to source, retain and afford, and abrasive weeding offers a mechanical alternative with 66% less labor required. Further research is needed to improve the efficacy of abrasive weeding and to reduce the cost of abrasive grits and application.
Spent coffee grounds (SCG) represent a significant food waste residue. Value-added uses for this material would be beneficial. Gritty agricultural residues, such as corncob grit, can be employed as abrasive air-propelled agents for organically-compatible and selective shredding of weed seedlings within established crops. SCG were tested and compared with corncob grit for their ability to injure seedlings of two important weeds: waterhemp and velvetleaf. Waterhemp seedlings were controlled completely with as little as 0.5 g of SCG at an air pressure of 690 kPa. Velvetleaf seedlings were much larger than those of waterhemp at the time of grit application, better tolerated SCG abrasion, but still were damaged appreciably by 1 to 2 g of grit. SCG were at least as effective for abrading weed seedlings as corncob grit, whose value for this purpose in organic crops was demonstrated previously.
Emergence patterns of foxtail in spring wheat following soybean were evaluated for three seeding dates and three tillage regimes. Cumulative foxtail emergence, as a percentage of total plants emerged in the growing season, was generally not influenced by tillage regime throughout most of the emergence period, but when differences occurred, emergence was lower with no-till than with moldboard plow. Foxtail seedling densities were greater in no-till and chisel plow than in moldboard plow. Weed biomass and wheat yields were not affected by tillage regime. Delaying wheat seeding reduced foxtail percent emergence and emerged seedling density. Differences in emergence patterns of foxtail were attributable to thermal accumulation after seeding. Wheat yield was not influenced by seeding date in 2 of 3 yr.
Approaches to crop production that successfully reduce weed seed production can benefit farming systems by reducing management inputs and costs. A 5-yr rotation study was conducted in order to determine the effects that interactions between crop rotation, tillage, and amount of herbicide and fertilizer (management inputs) have on annual grass and broad-leaved weed seed production and fecundity. There were 10 crop rotation and tillage system combinations and three levels of management inputs (high, medium, and low). Green and yellow foxtail were the major weed species, and together they yielded between 76 and 93% of collected weed seeds. From 1990 to 1994, average grass weed seed productions were 7.3 by 103, 3.7 by 103 6.1 by 103 and 5.7 by 103 seeds m−-2, whereas average broad-leaved weed seed productions were 0.4 by 103, 0.4 by 103, 1.4 by 103, and 0.4 by 103 seeds m−-2 in crop rotations using conventional tillage (moldboard plow), conservation tillage, no tillage, and ridge tillage, respectively. Crop rotations using conventional or ridge tillage consistently produced more grass and broad-leaved weed seeds, especially in low-input plots. There was little difference in weed seed production among input levels for crop rotations using conservation tillage. Comparing rotations that began and ended with a corn crop revealed that by increasing crop diversity within a rotation while simultaneously reducing the amount of tillage, significantly fewer grass and broad-leaved weed seeds were produced. Among the rotations, grass and broad-leaved weed fecundity were highly variable, but fecundity declined from 1990 to 1994 within each rotation, with a concomitant increase in grass and broad-leaved weed density over the same period. Crop rotation in combination with reduced tillage is an effective way of limiting grass and broad-leaved weed seed production, regardless of the level of management input applied.
In west central Minnesota the extent and duration of weed seed shed was measured for two years in corn that received cultivation but no herbicides. Percentage of seed production represented by viable (filled) seeds was about 79% for green foxtail, 68% for wild mustard, 49% for Pennsylvania smartweed, 48% for common lambsquarters, and 35% for redroot pigweed. Percentage viable seeds varied from 11% in 1993 to 59% in 1994 for redroot pigweed, but was more stable for other species. Seed shed commenced in late August in a cool year (1993) and early August in a warm year (1994). Average growing degree days (base 10 C) from corn planting until 25% seed shed was 983 for common lambsquarters, 984 for wild mustard, 1004 for Pennsylvania smartweed, and 1034 for both green foxtail and redroot pigweed. Brief weather events, such as wind storms, dispersed large percentages of total seed production within a single day. More than one-fifth of all viable seeds of green foxtail, redroot pigweed, and common lambsquarters were retained by the seedheads and dispersed by combines at harvest. In contrast, seeds of early-maturing species, such as wild mustard, were completely dispersed before corn harvest in the warmer year, but one-third of seeds were retained by seedheads at harvest in the cooler year. Measurement of seed shed was compared using five seed trap designs. The preferred design consisted of a 10-cm-diam plastic cup, whose bottom was replaced by a brass screen, and the entire unit attached to a small wooden stake for support. This design provided, on average, the highest estimates of seed production, least among-replication variability, highest correlation with weed population density and aboveground dry-weight, lowest assembly cost, and greatest ease for sample access and seed processing.
Knowledge of timing and extent of weed emergence before and immediately after crop seedbed preparation is needed to decrease need for preplant herbicides and increase efficacy of postemergence weed control in crops with either mechanical or chemical methods. Such knowledge is important for weeds that infest most crops over a wide area. For these reasons a mechanistic seedling emergence model based solely on soil temperature was developed for common lambsquarters. The model was validated using four sets of field data collected in 1988, 1990, and 1991 near Morris, MN. Agreement of predicted and observed emergence values across all site-years was 0.95 and the coefficient of determination (R2) was 0.98 (P < 0.001). Agreement for individual site-years was 0.96, 1.08, 1.08, and 0.98 and associated R2 values were 0.99, 0.99, 0.99, and 0.98 (P < 0.001 for each site-year), indicating close agreement between predicted and actual emergence values.
The dynamics of buried weed seeds in ridge-tilled corn (Zea mays L.) and soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] were studied in Minnesota. Soils subjected to continuous corn production harbored at least twice as many buried weed seeds as soils under corn/soybean rotations. Truncation of ridges at the time of crop sowing removed 31 to 37% of the buried weed seeds from ridges of continuous corn, and 80 to 100% of those from ridges of the corn/soybean rotations. From 14 to 36% of weed seeds originally in ridges were lost through germination either on the ridge or in the furrow. Ridging soil at layby stimulated germination of numerous weed seeds. The resulting population of small weeds eventually produced up to 1000 seeds/m2 in continuous corn but only about 100 seeds/m2 in corn/soybean rotations, thoroughly replenishing the soil seed reserve in both cropping systems. After 7 to 8 yr of good to excellent weed control with herbicides, crop yield losses in the absence of herbicides were 10 to 27% in continuous corn, and 0% for corn and 6 to 10% for soybeans in corn/soybean rotations.
The species composition and density of weed seed in the soil vary greatly and are closely linked to the cropping history of the land. Altering tillage practices changes weed seed depth in the soil, which plays a role in weed species shifts and affects efficacy of control practices. Crop rotation and weed control practices also affect the weed seedbank. Information on the influence of cropping practices on the weed seedbank should be a useful tool for integrated weed management. Decision aid models use information on the weed seedbank to estimate weed populations, crop yield loss, and recommend weed control tactics. Understanding the light requirements of weed seed may provide new approaches to weed management. Improving and applying our understanding of weed seedbank dynamics is essential to developing improved weed management systems. The principles of plant ecology must be integrated with the science of weed management to develop strategies that take advantage of basic plant responses in weed management systems for agronomic crops.
WEEDSIM is a bioeconomic decision aid for management of annual weeds in corn and soybean. It was field-tested for 4 yr in Minnesota. The decision aid has two categories of management recommendations: soil-applied plus postemergence (PRE+), based on estimated weed seedbank composition and density; and postemergence (POST), based upon observed weed seedling composition and density. Weed densities, weed control, herbicide use, environmental impact of herbicide use, weed management costs, crop yields, and economic returns that resulted from PRE+ and POST recommendations were compared to those associated with herbicide management systems (HERB) that were standard for the region. After 4 yr of applying WEEDSIM recommendations to the same plots, there were no increases in annual weed densities (seedbanks, seedlings, established plants, or seed production) or decreases in weed control or crop (soybean, rotation corn, and continuous corn) yields, compared to HERB. WEEDSIM recommendations resulted in average annual herbicide applications of 1.1 kg ai ha−1 for PRE+ and 1.0 kg ai ha−1 for POST, compared to 3.5 kg ai ha−1 for HERB. Environmental impact indices associated with PRE+, POST, and HERB were 0.75, 0.71, and 0.54, with the lowest value indicating greater environmental risk than the two higher values. Similarly, average weed management costs were $24, $33, and $77 ha−1 for PRE+, POST, and HERB, respectively. Based on crop prices of $94 Mg−1 for corn and $220 Mg-1 for soybean, the average gross margins over weed control costs were higher for PRE+ ($509 ha−1) and POST ($522 ha−1) than for HERB ($455 ha−1). In general, WEEDSIM appeared to make management recommendations that adequately controlled weeds, maintained crop yields, reduced herbicide use, decreased environmental risk, lowered weed management costs, and increased gross margins over weed control costs compared to the use of herbicides standard for the region.
Site-specific weed management recommendations require knowledge of weed species, density, and location in the field. This study compared several sampling techniques to estimate weed density and distribution in two 65-ha no-till Zea mays–Glycine max rotation fields in eastern South Dakota. The most common weeds (Setaria viridis, Setaria glauca, Cirsium arvense, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, and Polygonum pensylvanicum) were counted by species in 0.1-m2 areas on a 15- by 30-m (1,352 points in each field) or 30- by 30-m (676 points in each field) grid pattern, and points were georeferenced and data spatially analyzed. Using different sampling approaches, weed populations were estimated by resampling the original data set. The average density for each technique was calculated and compared with the average field density calculated from the all-point data. All weeds had skewed population distributions with more than 60% of sampling points lacking the specific weed, but very high densities (i.e., > 100 plants m−2) were also observed. More than 300 random samples were required to estimate densities within 20% of the all-point means about 60% of the time. Sampling requirement increased as average density decreased. The W pattern produced average species densities that often were similar to the field averages, but information on patch location was absent. Weed counts taken on the 15- by 30-m grid were dependent spatially and weed contour maps were developed. Kriged maps presented both density and location of weed patches and could be used to establish management zones. However, grid-sampling production fields on a small enough scale to obtain spatially dependent data may have limited usefulness because of time, cost, and labor constraints.
A bioeconomic weed management model was tested as a decision aid for weed control in corn at Rosemount, MN, from 1991 to 1994. The model makes recommendations for preemergence control tactics based on the weed seed content of the soil and postemergence decisions based on weed seedling densities. Weed control, corn yield, herbicide active ingredient applied, and economic return with model-generated treatments were compared to standard herbicide and mechanical control treatments. Effects of these treatments on weed populations and soybean yield the following year were also determined. In most cases, the model-generated treatments controlled weeds as well as the standard herbicide treatment. The quantity of herbicide active ingredient applied decreased 27% with the seed bank model and 68% with the seedling model relative to the standard herbicide treatment. However, the frequency of herbicide application was not reduced. In 1 yr, seed bank model treatments did not control weeds as well as the standard herbicide or seedling model treatments. Corn yields reflected differences in weed control. Net economic return to weed control was not increased by using model-generated control recommendations. Weed control treatments the previous year affected weed density in the following soybean crop. In 2 of 3 yr, these differences did not after weed control or soybean yield. Although tactics differed, the bioeconomic model generally resulted in weed control and corn yield similar to the standard herbicide. The model was responsive to differing weed populations, but did not greatly after economic returns under the weed species and densities in this research.
Previous efforts to model crop yield loss from multiple weed species constructed competitive indices based on yield loss from individual weed species. Our model uses a multispecies modification of Cousens’ rectangular hyperbolic yield function to estimate a nonlinear competitive index for weed-crop interference. Results from 13 Minnesota and Wisconsin data sets provide measures of the relative competitiveness of mixed green and yellow foxtails, common lambsquarters, redroot pigweed, velvetleaf, and several other weed species. Competition coefficient estimates are stable over years, but not locations.
Weed seed and seedling populations, and weed competition were compared in plots of continuous corn and corn/soybean rotation under ridge and conventional tillage. After 7 to 8 yr of standard chemical and mechanical weed control, from 1500 to 3000 weed seeds/m2 (to a 10-cm depth) were found in continuous corn with ridge tillage whereas about two-thirds fewer seeds were found in conventionally tilled corn. Soil from a corn/soybean rotation had from 200 to 700 seeds/m2 in both tillage systems. Annual loss of weed seeds from the soil through germination was from 3 to 12% in ridge tillage and 11 to 43% in conventional tillage. Additions to the seed pool were supplied by small weeds whose germination was stimulated by “layby” cultivation, with up to 10 times more emergence and 140 times more seed production in ridge than in conventional tillage. Withholding herbicides for 1 yr reduced yields of continuous corn by 10 to 27% in ridge tillage, only 2 to 4% in conventional tillage, and negligibly in corn/soybean rotations regardless of tillage. Reducing seed production of small layby weeds in ridge tillage may aid in solving the weed problem in this conservation tillage system.
Green and yellow foxtail seed production following harvest of spring wheat is a concern of producers in the northern Great Plains of the United States and the Prairie Provinces of Canada. Experiments were conducted in 1996 and 1997 in three tillage systems, no till (NT), chisel plow (CP), and moldboard plow (MP), at the University of Minnesota West Central Experiment Station, Morris, MN, to determine whether time of glyphosate application or tillage after spring wheat harvest could reduce postharvest foxtail seed production. In both years, hard red spring wheat was planted in late April and a packaged mixture of fenoxaprop and 2,4-D ester and MCPA ester was applied at a rate of 53 g and 81 g and 246 g ai/ha for grass and broadleaf weed control. Following spring wheat harvest, each main plot was subdivided into seven subplots, including an untreated control. One subplot was disked twice at 4 to 6 d after harvest (DAH) of spring wheat, and five other subplots had glyphosate (0.25 kg ai/ ha) applied on different days (1 to 31 DAH). Foxtail seeds were collected from the soil surface following first frost, and the number of green and yellow foxtail seeds were determined. Tillage immediately after spring wheat harvest eliminated foxtail plants, and no new foxtail seedlings emerged in either tilled or glyphosate-treated plots despite ideal postharvest conditions for foxtail germination and emergence in 1997. Most viable green foxtail seeds were consistently obtained in NT plots, whereas yellow foxtail seed production varied among tillage systems. Either tillage soon after spring wheat harvest or glyphosate application within 16 DAH reduced green and yellow foxtail seed production by greater than 70%.
Because environmental factors facilitating the breaking of dormancy of seed of catclaw mimosa (Mimosa pigra L. ♯ MIMPI) under field conditions were unknown, the effect of constant temperatures (2 to 44 C) on germination of scarified and unscarified seeds, and the effect of diurnally fluctuating temperatures on unscarified seeds were examined. Temperatures fluctuated diurnally by 10 and 20 C in these latter experiments. Germination was less than 10% at all constant temperatures except 44 C, which had 40% germination. Scarification increased germination to 100% at constant temperatures greater than 12 C. Germination of unscarified seed was significantly lower (0 to 23%) when day/night temperature ranges fluctuated by 10 C than when they fluctuated by 20 C. Optimum temperature for germination was 40/20 C, where 93% germination occurred within 4 days.
Patterns of spread of 85 weed species alien to the northwestern U.S. were simulated using principal coordinate analysis on primarily herbaria-derived data. The primary pattern detected was a west-to-east migration of weeds. The point of introduction for most weeds following this pattern appeared to be near Portland, OR, an important shipping port in the past. An east-to-west migration represented a secondary pattern. The major cattle and wheat-cropping areas of east-central Montana were the apparent introduction points for weeds following this pattern. The grain and pulse region of eastern Washington represented the point of introduction of species following a third pattern of migration. These weeds subsequently spread southward to Utah and then laterally to the east and west. Historical weed migration patterns provide insight to probable points of origin and routes of currently spreading weeds as well as those that will spread in the future. Such insight may aid in the containment of future spreading weeds.
Regression models of the effect of weed density on crop yield can form the basis of weed management programs by helping growers decide whether weed control is economically justified. However, few studies have examined whether one regression model can be used across a wide range of tillage systems and crop rotations. We used a nonlinear analysis of covariance to examine experiments conducted in 1990 and 1991 on the interaction of weed interference with conventional, fall chisel, and no-till systems, and rotations of corn, soybean, and wheat on a clay loam soil. Corn and soybean suffered heavy losses due to interference by green foxtail (a mixed population of robust purple and robust white varieties). Both tillage system and crop rotation altered the relationship between weed density and yield for corn in 1990 and 1991, but tillage was not a factor for soybean in 1991. Companion experiments on a sandy loam soil found no relationship between weed density and dryland corn yield in the drought year 1990, but weed density greatly decreased yield in irrigated corn. In 1991, the same model fit both dryland and irrigated corn grown in sandy loam soil. Foxtail density did not affect average weight per foxtail plant in any of our experiments, which indicates a lack of intraspecific competition. Competitiveness of corn better explained variation in dry weight per foxtail than did weather. Economic thresholds for foxtail interference are not constant but vary with weather, cropping system, and soil type.
Foxtail emergence patterns were evaluated in spring wheat under three tillage regimes, moldboard plow, chisel plow, and no-till, and three wheat planting dates. The first planting date was as soon as feasible in spring, and the second and third planting dates averaged 9 and 17 d later. Foxtail emergence patterns and seedbank density were evaluated each year for three consecutive years. Green foxtail was the dominant weed species. Tillage regime did not influence initial percent emergence of foxtail. Subsequent percent foxtail emergence was sometimes lower in no-till or chisel plow than in moldboard plow regimes until emergence approached 100%. By the third year, total foxtail plant emergence was greater in no-till and chisel plow than in moldboard plow and also greater in no-till than chisel plow. Earlier planting generally increased percent foxtail emergence until midseason. At 22 d after planting, average emergence of foxtail was 48, 67, and 81% for planting dates one, two, and three, respectively. Delayed planting increased rate of foxtail emergence but decreased density of emerged seedlings. Producers adopting chisel plow or no-till systems can expect to see greater foxtail infestations than in moldboard plow systems. Subsequently, more extensive weed management in reduced tillage systems will be needed to prevent heavy foxtail infestations. Delaying wheat planting may be a viable option for foxtail management through reduced plant densities and more simultaneous emergence patterns.