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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Minor Use Weed Management
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Lead Scientist: Joanne Chee-Sanford


Effective weed management is critical to the success of production of most minor use crops. These crops often are not very competitive with weeds, and suffer large losses in quantity and quality of the harvested produce if weeds are not controlled to a high degree. This is becoming more of a problem each year, as often these crops cannot be cultivated effectively, and hand labor sources are both scarce and expensive. Industry cannot afford to develop herbicides just for these minor markets, and many herbicides that were once labeled have had the labels canceled.
This research project is involved in reviewing and prioritizing needs for herbicides for minor use crops and in conducting experiments to gather data on weed control effectiveness, crop injury and yield, and in collecting samples for residue analysis as part of the overall mission of the USDA/ARS Minor Use Pesticide Program. Data from several locations are then compiled by the IR-R headquarters office at Rutgers, and submitted to EPA to obtain labels for these uses.

Highlights of Recent Accomplishments

I have participated in a number of Food Use Workshops to identify and prioritize minor use projects for potential research, These are typically followed by our annual meetings of the ARS Minor Use Liaison Representatives (I serve as the ARS Representative for weed science for the North Central Region), where projects are further prioritized and selected for research projects involving both food and ornamental crops.

For a number of years, about 2 to 4 projects per years have been researched on a wide variety of crops and herbicides, depending on the particular needs and priorities of a given year. This research includes conducting experiments according to GLP, collecting and shipping residue samples for analysis and preparing and submitting final reports for eventual compilation and submission to EPA. In recent years, since many of the priorities are for crops grown mainly outside of Illinois, I have established a specific cooperative agreement with a scientist from Michigan State University, and have done the experiments cooperatively with him at a location where a number of other similar projects are being conducted on similar crops.

Proposed Research

The project will be continued with the objectives to: 1) Develop control measures for weeds in vegetables, fruits, and speciality crops, and 2) Determine herbicide residues in the harvested product. To do this, we will conduct experiments, likely continuing the specific cooperative agreement arrangement with Michigan State University, to research herbicides alone or in combination with cultural and mechanical methods under field conditions. Crop injury, weed control and yields will be determined for several experiments per year. Plant samples will be collected for determination of herbicide residues.

The results of these studies will contribute to the database required for registration packages to be submitted to EPA to facilitate labeling of additional herbicides for use in minor crops.

Last Modified: 7/14/2004
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