Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2017
Development of more comprehensive and cost-effective integrated weed management systems is required to facilitate greater integrated weed management adoption by farmers. A field experiment was conducted at two locations to determine the combined effects of seed date (April or May), seed rate (recommended or 150% of recommended), fertilizer timing (applied in fall or spring), and in-crop herbicide dose (50% or 100% of recommended) on weed growth and crop yield. This factorial set of treatments was applied in four consecutive years within a spring wheat–spring canola–spring wheat–spring canola rotation in a zero-till production system. Both wheat and canola phases of the rotation were grown each year. Weed biomass was often lower with May than with April seeding because more weeds were controlled with preplant glyphosate. However, despite fewer weeds being present with May seeding, wheat yield was only greater in 1 of 7 site-years, and canola yield was never greater with May compared with April seeding. Higher crop seed rates had a consistently positive effect on reducing weed growth and the weed seedbank. Crop yield was sometimes greater, and never lower, with higher seed rates. Fertilizer timing did not have a large effect on crop yield, but applying N in the spring compared with fall was less favorable for weeds as indicated by lower weed biomass and a 20% decrease in the weed seedbank. In-crop herbicides applied at 50% compared with 100% doses often resulted in similar weed biomass and crop yield, especially when higher crop seed rates were used. Indeed, the weed seedbank at the conclusion of the 4-yr experiment was not greater with the 50% compared with 100% herbicide dose at one of two locations. This study demonstrates the combined merits of early seeding (April), higher crop seed rates, and spring-applied fertilizer in conjunction with timely but limited herbicide use to manage weeds and maintain high crop yields in rotations containing wheat and canola.