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More growers across the US Midwest are considering interseeding or overseeding cover crops into corn for soil health purposes. One challenge of this practice is the potential injury from soil residual herbicides applied preemergence (PRE) for weed control in corn to the interseeded and overseeded cover crop species. Field treated soil was collected in 2021 and 2022 at Janesville and Lancaster, WI to investigate the impact of PRE residual herbicides on establishment of interseeded and overseeded cover crops via greenhouse bioassay. Soil samples (0-5 cm depth) were collected from field experiments at 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 days after treatment (DAT). Treatments consisted of 14 single and multiple sites of action PRE herbicides plus a nontreated check (NTC). Four bioindicator cover crop species were used in the greenhouse bioassay: annual ryegrass, cereal rye, radish, and red clover. Cover crop biomass was collected 28 days after bioassay seeding. Cover crop species responded differently across herbicide treatments. Annual ryegrass and cereal rye were sensitive to treatments containing herbicide group 15, whereas groups 2, 4, 5, 14, and 27 had minimal impact on their establishment when field soil was collected at 30 DAT (interseeding scenario) and 70 DAT (overseeding scenario) compared to the NTC. Radish and red clover were sensitive to herbicide groups 2, 4, and 27, whereas groups 5, 14, and 15 had minimal impact on their establishment. Annual ryegrass, radish, and red clover were more sensitive to PRE herbicides containing two and three sites of action than herbicides with a single site of action. Based on these greenhouse bioassay results, cover crop species should be carefully selected depending on the soil residual herbicide when interseeded and overseeded into corn. Field studies will be conducted to validate these results and support recommendations to growers interested in this system.
Widespread occurrence of herbicide-resistant weeds and more variable weather conditions across the United States has made weed control in many crops more challenging. Preemergence (PRE) herbicides with soil residual activity have resurged as the foundation for early season weed control in many crops. Field experiments were conducted in Janesville and Lancaster, Wisconsin, in 2021 and 2022 (4 site-years) to evaluate the weed control efficacy of solo (single site of action [SOA]) and premix (two or more SOAs) PRE herbicides in conventional tillage corn. Treatments consisted of 18 PRE herbicides plus a nontreated check. At the Janesville-2021 site, S-metolachlor + bicyclopyrone + mesotrione, atrazine + S-metolachlor + bicyclopyrone + mesotrione, and clopyralid + acetochlor + mesotrione provided >72% giant ragweed control. At the Janesville-2022 site, none of the PRE herbicides evaluated provided >70% giant ragweed control due to the high giant ragweed density and the lack of timely rainfall. At the Lancaster-2021 site, atrazine, dicamba, and flumetsulam + clopyralid provided <45% waterhemp control, but the remaining treatments provided >90% control. At the Lancaster-2022 site, the efficacy of some PRE herbicides was reduced due to the high waterhemp density; however, most herbicides provided >75% control. At the Lancaster-2021 and Lancaster-2022 sites, only dicamba and S-metolachlor did not provide >75% common lambsquarters control. Group 15 PRE herbicides provided >75% control of giant foxtail. Across weed species, PRE herbicides with two (78%) and three (81%) SOAs provided greater weed control than PRE herbicides with a single SOA (68%), indicating that at least two SOA herbicides applied PRE result in better early season weed control. The efficacy of the PRE herbicide treatments evaluated herein varied according to the soil seedbank weed community composition and environmental conditions (i.e., rainfall following application), but the premixes were a more reliable option to improve early season weed control in conventional tillage corn.
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