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Integrated weed management (IWM) decision strategies in herbicide-resistant canola-production systems were assessed for net returns and relative risk. Data from two field experiments conducted during 1998 to 2000 at two locations in Alberta, Canada, were evaluated. A herbicide-based experiment included combinations of herbicide system (glufosinate-, glyphosate-, and imazethapyr-resistant canola varieties), herbicide rate (50 and 100% of recommended dose), and time of weed removal (two-, four-, and six-leaf stages of canola). A seed-based experiment included canola variety (hybrid and open-pollinated), seeding rate (100, 150, and 200 seeds m−2), and time of weed removal (two-, four-, and six-leaf stages of canola). For the herbicide-based experiment, strategies with glyphosate were profitable at Lacombe, but both imazethapyr and glyphosate strategies were profitable at Lethbridge. Weed control at the four-leaf stage was at least as profitable as the two-leaf stage at both sites. For the seed-based experiment, the hybrid was more profitable than the open-pollinated cultivar, seed rates of 100 and 150 seeds m−2 were more profitable than 200 seeds m−2, and weed control at the two- and four-leaf stages was more profitable than at the six-leaf stage. When risk of returns and statistical significance was considered, several strategies were included in the risk-efficient set for risk-averse and risk-neutral attitudes at each location. However, the glyphosate-resistant cultivar, the 50% herbicide rate, and weed control at four-leaf stage were more frequent in the risk-efficient IWM strategy set. The open-pollinated cultivar, 200 seeds m−2 rate, and weed control at the six-leaf stage were less frequent in the set. The risk-efficient sets of IWM strategies were consistent across a range of canola prices.
In western Canada, more money is spent on wild oat herbicides than on any
other weed species, and wild oat resistance to herbicides is the most
widespread resistance issue. A direct-seeded field experiment was conducted
from 2010 to 2014 at eight Canadian sites to determine crop life cycle, crop
species, crop seeding rate, crop usage, and herbicide rate combination
effects on wild oat management and canola yield. Combining 2× seeding rates
of early-cut barley silage with 2× seeding rates of winter cereals and
excluding wild oat herbicides for 3 of 5 yr (2011 to 2013) often led to
similar wild oat density, aboveground wild oat biomass, wild oat seed
density in the soil, and canola yield as a repeated canola–wheat rotation
under a full wild oat herbicide rate regime. Wild oat was similarly well
managed after 3 yr of perennial alfalfa without wild oat herbicides.
Forgoing wild oat herbicides in only 2 of 5 yr from exclusively summer
annual crop rotations resulted in higher wild oat density, biomass, and seed
banks. Management systems that effectively combine diverse and optimal
cultural practices against weeds, and limit herbicide use, reduce selection
pressure for weed resistance to herbicides and prolong the utility of
threatened herbicide tools.
Production functions to explain regional wheat yields have not been studied extensively in the Canadian prairies. The objective of this study is to employ a Just-Pope production function to examine the relationship between fertilizer inputs, soil quality, biodiversity indicators, cultivars qualifying for Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR), and climatic conditions on the mean and variance of spring wheat yields. Using regional-level wheat data from Manitoba, Canada, model results show nitrogen fertilizer, temporal diversity, and PBR wheat cultivars are associated with increased yield variance. Mean wheat yield is reduced by the proportion of land in wheat, the interaction of growing temperature and precipitation, and spatial diversity. By contrast, higher soil quality and PBR wheat cultivars increase mean yield. The wheat yield increases attributed to PBR range from 37.2 (1.4%) to 54.5 kg/ha (2.0%). Plant Breeders' Rights may have enhanced royalties from increased certified seed sales, but the benefits in terms of higher wheat yield or lower yield variability are limited. Future research is required to understand the interactive effects of fertilization practices, genetic diversity, and environmental conditions on regional wheat yield stability.
Organic crop production systems are increasingly being adopted by producers in the northern Great Plains. This study evaluated the expected net returns and risk of organic crop rotations, compared to conventional rotations. Field plot data of organic and conventional crop rotations were used to determine the net returns of the systems, using four different levels of premiums for organic produce. The risk of returns was evaluated using estimated cumulative density functions and stochastic dominance. The most profitable organic rotation required high price premiums to dominate the most profitable conventional rotation. However, the most profitable organic rotation dominated some conventional rotations that are commonly used in the northern Great Plains. The organic rotations had slightly higher risk, but the relative risk of rotations had little impact on the optimal rotation.
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