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50th Anniversary—Invited Article: Challenges and opportunities for integrated weed management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Douglas D. Buhler*
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824;


Despite several decades of modern weed control practices, weeds continue to be a constant threat to agricultural productivity. Herbicide-resistant weeds and weed population shifts continue to generate new challenges for agriculture. Because of weed community complexity, integrated approaches to weed management may help reduce economic effects and improve weed control practices. Integrated weed management emphasizes the combination of management techniques and scientific knowledge in a manner that considers the causes of weed problems rather than reacts to existing weed populations. The goal of weed management is the integration of the best options and tools to make cropping systems unfavorable for weeds and to minimize the effect of weeds that survive. No single practice should be considered as more than a portion of an integrated weed management strategy. The best approach may be to integrate cropping system design and weed control strategies into a comprehensive system that is environmentally and economically viable. Management decisions must also be made on a site- and time-specific basis. Considering weeds in a broader ecological and management context may lead to the use of a wider range of cultural and management practices to regulate weed communities and prevent the buildup of adapted species. This will help producers manage herbicides and other inputs in a manner that preserves their effectiveness and move weed scientists toward the development of more diverse and integrated approaches to weed management.

50th Anniversary–Invited Article
Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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