Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Systems Approach for No-Till Weed Management in Semiarid Crop Rotations

Author
item Anderson, Randal

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 23, 2005
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Citation: Anderson, R.L. 2005. A systems approach for no-till weed management in semiarid crop rotations. Agronomy Journal. 97:1579-1583.

Interpretive Summary: Crop production practices are changing in the Great Plains because of no-till systems. In place of winter wheat-fallow, producers now grow warm season crops along with winter wheat and fallow. Along with this change in cropping systems, weed management has also changed. Producers are following an ecological approach to weed management, which integrates knowledge of weed population dynamics with cultural practices and long-term planning. With this approach, producers control weeds with 50% less inputs. This paper explains the cultural strategies and ecological reasoning that led to this successful approach with weed management; our goal is to encourage producers and scientists in other semiarid regions to widen their perspective in considering components of weed management. Because this systems approach is so effective, innovative producers now view weed management in no-till cropping systems as a minor issue.

Technical Abstract: No-till systems have enabled producers to change crop production practices in the semiarid Central Great Plains of the United States. Previously, winter wheat (Triticum aestivum)-fallow was the prevalent rotation; now producers can grow warm season crops along with winter wheat and fallow. Initially, weed management was difficult in no-till rotations. However, an ecological approach to weed management, which integrates knowledge of weed population dynamics with cultural practices and long-term planning, has enabled producers to not only control weeds, but also reduce herbicide input and cost of weed management 50%. This paper explains the cultural strategies and ecological reasoning that led to this successful approach with weed management; our goal is to encourage producers and scientists in other semiarid regions to widen their perspective in considering components of weed management. In the Central Great Plains, the ecological approach emphasizes 3 goals: enhancing natural loss of weed seeds in soil, reducing weed seedling establishment, and minimizing seed production by established plants. Management systems involve cultural strategies related to rotation design, crop diversity within life cycle intervals, no-till, crop residue management, and competitive canopies. Effectiveness with 1 component on weed dynamics influences impact of other components on weed management. Because this systems approach is so effective, innovative producers now view weed management in no-till cropping systems as a minor issue.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page