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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PEST BIOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE Title: Weed Community Response to No-Till in North America

Author
item Anderson, Randal

Submitted to: Quarantine and Protection of Plants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 7, 2010
Publication Date: June 10, 2010
Citation: Anderson, R.L. 2010. Weed Community Response to No-Till in North America. Quarantine and Protection of Plants. 12:345-357.

Interpretive Summary: Producers in Ukraine are starting no-till crop production, but are concerned about weed management. Producers in North America have used no-till systems for several decades without increasing weed community density in croplands. Initially, weed density escalated with no-till, but development of postemergence herbicides improved management efficiency. One lesson learned about no-till is that weed density can escalate when a monoculture rotation is used, such as continuous corn. Designing rotations to include a diversity of crops minimizes this trend. A further benefit of no-till is weed seeds do not survive as long lying on the soil surface compared with burial in soil. Integrating no-till with diverse crop rotations has enabled producers in the semiarid steppe of the U.S. to manage weeds with 50% less cost compared to tilled rotations with less crop diversity. No-till accrues numerous benefits for North American producers, such as increasing crop growth and net returns, restoring soil health, and improving resource-use-efficiency. Ukrainian producers can gain similar benefits with no-till and still manage weeds effectively with current technology.

Technical Abstract: Scientists and producers in Ukraine are interested in no-till crop production, but are concerned about weed management. In North America, producers have used no-till systems for several decades without increasing weed community density in croplands. Initially, weed density escalated with no-till, but development of postemergence herbicides improved management efficiency. Weed community composition with no-till has not changed substantially either. Occasionally, density of a specific weed may increase rapidly in rotations comprised of only one or two crops, but producers can minimize these potential weed shifts with rotations comprised of a diversity of crops. No-till can help weed management because weed seeds do not survive as long lying on the soil surface compared with burial in soil. Integrating no-till with diverse crop rotations has enabled producers in the semiarid steppe of the U.S. to manage weeds with 50% less cost compared to tilled rotations with less crop diversity. No-till accrues numerous benefits for North American producers, such as increasing crop growth and net returns, restoring soil health, and improving resource-use-efficiency. We believe that Ukrainian producers can gain similar benefits with no-till and still manage weeds effectively with current technology.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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