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Field studies were conducted in 2021 in Kibler and Augusta, AR, to determine the effect of winter cover crops and cultivar selection on weed suppression and sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] yield. The split-split-plot studies evaluated three cover crops [cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) + crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.)], [winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) + crimson clover], and fallow; weeding (with or without); and four sweetpotato cultivars (‘Heartogold’, ‘Bayou-Belle-6’, ‘Beauregard-14’, and ‘Orleans’). Heartogold had the tallest canopy, while Beauregard-14 and Bayou Belle-6 had the longest vines at 5 and 8 wk after sweetpotato transplanting. Sweetpotato canopy was about 20% taller in weedy plots compared with the hand-weeded treatment, and vines were shorter under weed interference. Canopy height and vine length of sweetpotato cultivars were not related to weed biomass suppression. However, vine length was positively correlated to all yield grades (r > 0.5). Weed biomass decreased 1-fold in plots with cover crops compared with bare soil at Augusta. Cover crop biomass was positively correlated with jumbo (r = 0.29), no. 1 (r = 0.33), and total sweetpotato yield (r = 0.34). Jumbo yield was affected the most by weed pressure. On average, sweetpotato total yield was reduced by 80% and 60% with weed interference in Augusta and Kibler, respectively. Bayou Belle-6 was the high-yielding cultivar without weed interference in both locations. Bayou Belle-6 and Heartogold were less affected by weed interference than Beauregard-14 and Orleans.
Glufosinate resistance in Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) was recently detected in three accessions from Arkansas, USA. Amaranthus palmeri is the first and only broadleaf weed species resistant to this herbicide, and the resistance mechanism is still unclear. A previous study characterized the glufosinate resistance level in the accessions from Arkansas. A highly glufosinate-resistant accession was further used to investigate the mechanism conferring glufosinate resistance in A. palmeri. Experiments were designed to sequence the herbicide target enzyme cytosolic and chloroplastic glutamine synthetase isoforms (GS1 and GS2, respectively) and quantify copy number and expression. Absorption, translocation, and metabolism of glufosinate using the 14C-labeled herbicide were also evaluated in the resistant and susceptible accessions. The glufosinate-resistant accession had an increase in copy number and expression of GS2 compared with susceptible plants. All accessions showed only one GS1 copy and no differences in expression. No mutations were identified in GS1 or GS2. Absorption (54% to 60%) and metabolism (13% to 21%) were not different between the glufosinate-resistant and glufosinate-susceptible accessions. Most residues of glufosinate (94% to 98%) were present in the treated leaf. Glufosinate translocation to tissues above the treated leaf and in the roots was not different among accessions. However, glufosinate translocation to tissues below the treated leaf (not including roots) was greater in the resistant A. palmeri (2%) compared with the susceptible (less than 1%) accessions. The findings of this paper strongly indicate that gene amplification and increased expression of the chloroplastic glutamine synthetase enzyme are the mechanisms conferring glufosinate resistance in the A. palmeri accession investigated. Thus far, no additional resistance mechanism was observed, but further investigations are ongoing.
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