1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Demonstrate effective, economically viable weed IPM alternatives to atrazine a. Test and compare weed IPM alternatives that integrate competitive cultivars, mechanical weed control, and judicious use of modern herbicides b. Conduct an economic analysis of current atrazine-containing standards versus weed IPM alternatives to atrazine c. Rank commercial hybrids for their relative competitive ability
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The goal of this work is to reduce growers’ reliance on atrazine for weed management in corn. We are targeting sweet corn because of the herbicide’s central importance to sweet corn production, the high feasibility of finding economically viable alternatives, and critical timing of key issues in atrazine, including herbicide resistance and regulatory re-evaluation. In order to maximize project impact, we propose to conduct our research and outreach work in the three Midwest states that account for one-half of sweet corn grown for U.S. processing. The experimental approach will be tailored to the unique weed issues, crop production practices, and outreach opportunities of each state. Specifically, we will test different atrazine-free weed management systems utilizing combinations of herbicides and mechanical control, and compare to standard atrazine-containing treatments. A common minimum treatment list will be used at all locations, with additional treatments specific to each state. This will 1) provide an opportunity to tailor development of treatments to specific local issues, yet 2) enable us to test the robustness of treatment outcomes to environmental variation observed among locations.
3. Progress Report:
Locations for these field trials have been secured in collaboration with partners from the University of Minnesota, University of Illinois, Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc., and Central Illinois Irrigated Growers Association. Preliminary trials have been conducted in Urbana, providing an opportunity to work out details regarding the management of multiple field trials throughout the Midwest. Seed industry partners have provided seed of widely grown sh2 processing hybrids.