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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #215381

Title: Weed Management

item Mitchell, Robert - Rob

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2006
Publication Date: 1/30/2007
Citation: Masters, R.A., Mitchell, R. 2007. Weed Management. Book Chapter. Forages : The Science of Grassland Agriculture, 6th Edition, Chapter 26, pp. 395-409.

Interpretive Summary: Fundamentally, forage systems involve applying various practices to manipulate forage interactions with other plants, the environment, and grazing animals to meet resource manager objectives. These interactions can result in invasion and increased abundance of unwanted plants, or weeds, which hinder attainment of objectives. Weeds influence the structure and function of forage-based ecosystems whether forages are grown in cropland, improved pastures, or rangeland or grassland communities. Weeds interfere with forage establishment, yield, and quality by competing for resources and/or by producing and releasing allelochemicals that inhibit growth and development of forages. Weeds often reduce the feed value of forage and can be toxic or unpalatable to livestock. Weeds are usually indicators of deficiencies in a forage management program. Inappropriate grazing management systems, nutrient constraints, or use of poorly adapted forages can facilitate weed invasion. These unwanted plants invade niches in the plant community vacated by forages because management practices put desirable plants at a competitive disadvantage. The best defense against weed invasion is to maintain a plant community comprised of adapted forages that are managed to optimize persistence and productivity and to maximize utilization of resources by forages. This management leaves insufficient resources for weed invasion.

Technical Abstract: Adaptive management can complement integrated programs to manage weeds in forage production systems. This approach requires establishing management goals, developing and implementing management programs based on the goals, monitoring and assessing impacts of management efforts, and modifying goals and invasive plant management in light of new information. Adaptive management has been developed as an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to deal with the uncertainty associated with natural resource management. To be successful, weed management programs must be compatible with and integrated into forage resource management objectives. Effective weed management programs must consider other management components that impinge upon the forage resource. Integrating all components in the proper sequence and combination within the forage resource management program is essential because interactions among the components determine the economic and ecological sustainability of the program.