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Narrow-windrow burning (NWB) is a form of harvest weed seed control in which crop residues and weed seeds collected by the combine are concentrated into windrows and subsequently burned. The objectives of this study were to determine how NWB will 1) affect seed survival of Italian ryegrass in wheat and Palmer amaranth in soybean and 2) determine whether a relationship exists between NWB heat index (HI; the sum of temperatures above ambient) or effective burn time (EBT; the cumulative number of seconds temperatures exceed 200 C) and the post-NWB seed survival of both species. Average soybean and wheat windrow HI totaled 140,725 ± 14,370 and 66,196 ± 6224 C, and 259 ± 27 and 116 ± 12 s of EBT, respectively. Pre-NWB versus post-NWB germinability testing revealed an estimated seed kill rate of 79.7% for Italian ryegrass, and 86.3% for Palmer amaranth. Non-linear two-parameter exponential regressions between seed kill and HI or EBT indicated NWB at an HI of 146,000 C and 277 s of EBT potentially kills 99% of Palmer amaranth seed. Seventy-six percent of soybean windrow burning events resulted in estimated Palmer amaranth seed kill rates greater than 85%. Predicted Italian ryegrass seed kill was greater than 97% in all but two wheat NWB events; therefore, relationships were not calculated. These results validate the effectiveness of the ability of NWB to reduce seed survival, thereby improving weed management and combating herbicide resistance.
Cover crops enhance the biodiversity of cropping systems and can support a variety of useful ecosystem services, including weed suppression. In California orchards, cover crops are typically implemented as annual plants that can replace resident vegetation in orchard alleyways during the rainy winter season. Our research objective was to evaluate cover crop management factors that support a competitive, weed-suppressing cover crop in the unique orchard systems of central California. We conducted two experiments: an experiment evaluating cover crop management intensification in walnuts (Juglans regia L.) and an experiment evaluating multispecies cover crop mixes and planting date in almonds [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb]. These experiments demonstrate that timely cover crop planting is important for producing an abundant cover crop, and a variety of cover crop management programs can produce weed-suppressing cover crops. However, cover crops do not result in weed-free orchards and should be considered within the context of integrated management programs. The apparent flexibility of orchard cover crop management provides an opportunity to promote other agroecosystem services, with vegetation management and weed suppression as complementary management goals.
Seed retention, and ultimately seed shatter, are extremely important for the efficacy of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) and are likely influenced by various agroecological and environmental factors. Field studies investigated seed-shattering phenology of 22 weed species across three soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]-producing regions in the United States. We further evaluated the potential drivers of seed shatter in terms of weather conditions, growing degree days, and plant biomass. Based on the results, weather conditions had no consistent impact on weed seed shatter. However, there was a positive correlation between individual weed plant biomass and delayed weed seed–shattering rates during harvest. This work demonstrates that HWSC can potentially reduce weed seedbank inputs of plants that have escaped early-season management practices and retained seed through harvest. However, smaller individuals of plants within the same population that shatter seed before harvest pose a risk of escaping early-season management and HWSC.
Potential effectiveness of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) systems depends upon seed shatter of the target weed species at crop maturity, enabling its collection and processing at crop harvest. However, seed retention likely is influenced by agroecological and environmental factors. In 2016 and 2017, we assessed seed-shatter phenology in 13 economically important broadleaf weed species in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] from crop physiological maturity to 4 wk after physiological maturity at multiple sites spread across 14 states in the southern, northern, and mid-Atlantic United States. Greater proportions of seeds were retained by weeds in southern latitudes and shatter rate increased at northern latitudes. Amaranthus spp. seed shatter was low (0% to 2%), whereas shatter varied widely in common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) (2% to 90%) over the weeks following soybean physiological maturity. Overall, the broadleaf species studied shattered less than 10% of their seeds by soybean harvest. Our results suggest that some of the broadleaf species with greater seed retention rates in the weeks following soybean physiological maturity may be good candidates for HWSC.
Seed shatter is an important weediness trait on which the efficacy of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) depends. The level of seed shatter in a species is likely influenced by agroecological and environmental factors. In 2016 and 2017, we assessed seed shatter of eight economically important grass weed species in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] from crop physiological maturity to 4 wk after maturity at multiple sites spread across 11 states in the southern, northern, and mid-Atlantic United States. From soybean maturity to 4 wk after maturity, cumulative percent seed shatter was lowest in the southern U.S. regions and increased moving north through the states. At soybean maturity, the percent of seed shatter ranged from 1% to 70%. That range had shifted to 5% to 100% (mean: 42%) by 25 d after soybean maturity. There were considerable differences in seed-shatter onset and rate of progression between sites and years in some species that could impact their susceptibility to HWSC. Our results suggest that many summer annual grass species are likely not ideal candidates for HWSC, although HWSC could substantially reduce their seed output during certain years.