Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Urbana, Illinois » Global Change and Photosynthesis Research » Research » Research Project #439172

Research Project: Resilience of Integrated Weed Management Systems to Climate Variability in Midwest Crop Production Systems

Location: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research

Project Number: 5012-12220-010-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2025

Objective 1: Determine the structure and functions of microbial communities in cropping systems that include chemical and non-chemical weed control tactics, and elucidate their interactions with herbicide resistant weeds, and response to various weed management tactics under climate change. 1.1 Characterize the microbial community structure associated with the rhizosphere of problematic weed species in Midwest cropping systems. 1.2 Characterize the microbial community structure associated with herbicide resistant weeds. Objective 2: Develop alternative cropping systems that include the integration of new chemical and non-chemical tactics for managing weeds for Midwest specialty crops production and improve the knowledge or understanding of influences of the climate variability on crop and weed management outcomes. 2.1 Determine the scope of the problem of weeds and their management in processing vegetable legumes, specifically snap bean. 2.2 Quantify snap bean cultivar variability in herbicide tolerance and traits important to weed competitiveness. 2.3 Model effectiveness of preemergence herbicides across variation in rainfall and soil temperature. 2.4 Determine the relationships among weed control and weather variability on corn yield loss due to weeds. 2.5 Investigate the role of sweet corn postharvest weed seed control in reducing weed seedbank inputs.

Many of the pressing weed issues in the nation's cropping systems have resulted from the simplification of weed management systems through over-reliance on specific herbicides, causing economic losses of tens of billions of dollars annually. Weeds have adapted to this selection pressure through evolution of herbicide resistances. Moreover, emerging chemical 'solutions' to manage herbicide resistant weeds in agronomic crops offers no benefit to specialty crop production systems because herbicide tolerant cultivars are either not available or largely unaccepted, yet these crops face greater sensitivity to weed competition, off-target herbicide injury, and adverse weather. Our research aims to develop strategies that may help to reduce the risk that weeds pose to food production in the face of climate change. We will utilize an array of experimental approaches at various spatial and temporal scales, all aimed at building resilience in weed management systems to reduce weed fitness and enhance crop performance. Study systems will range in spatial scale from plant-microbe rhizosphere dynamics to weed community assemblages of specialty crop fields in multiple states. The temporal scale of our study systems will range from days, for microbial research, to decades, for long-term weed management trials. Our experimental approaches are diverse, including microbial ecology, weed ecology, genetics, modeling, and agronomic research using both empirical hypothesis testing and observational analyses. The knowledge gained through this research addresses specific agricultural problems of national importance including those associated with pest management, food security, and grower profitability.