1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Extreme climate conditions are a constant challenge for farmers in regions like the mid-hills of Nepal. Undertsanding how to minimize weed impacts on crops in such environments may provide insights into how management strategies can be modified to mitigate the effects of climate change, which is predicted to result in a greater frequency and more extreme weather events, on crop production in the U.S. Objective 1: Conduct a needs survey for weed management in the maize-fingermillet production system of the mid-hills of Nepal (MFN). Objective 2: Design an appropriate integrated weed management system for MFN that works within budget, labor and climatic constraints.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
This project will require a two-phase approach. First, a needs survey will be administered to small-holders in the mid-hills of Nepal to determine current maize and fingermillet production capacity in the area, the extent of weed losses due to weed interference, constraints on weed management (including time, labor, resources and climate), and problem weed species within the MFN system. In the second phase, field studies will be performed to a) determine yield loss-weed density curves for maize and fingermillet, b) compare the ability of several low-cost cultivation methods to reduce weed populations to an acceptable level, c) evaluate the impact of several cover crop species on weed population densities, d) quantify weed management labor costs in relation to several alternate planting arrangements.
3. Progress Report:
This project has made good progress toward the goal of identifying robust integrated weed management systems for maize-fingermillet production systems in the mid-hills of Nepal. In 2011, the cooperator in Nepal established field plot experiments comparing local weed and soil management practices with recommended best agronomic practices in tilled and no-till production systems. The cooperator also conducted a survey on farmer knowledge of, and adoption rates of, best management practices for the maize-fingermillet relay system. In winter 2012, the ARS scientist and Nepalese collaborator began to analyze both survey and field study data.