Submitted to: Weed Technology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/13/2013
Publication Date: 3/30/2013
Citation: Brainard, D., Haramoto, E., Williams, M.M. II, Mirsky, S.B. 2013. Towards a no-till no-spray future? Introduction to a symposium on nonchemical weed management for reduced-tillage cropping systems. Weed Technology. 27:190-192. Interpretive Summary: Reducing tillage in vegetable and field crop production has many well-known benefits for conserving and improving soil resources. In addition, reducing tillage can lower labor and fuel requirements. Successful reductions in tillage have typically been associated with production systems where low-cost, highly effective herbicides are available; success has been greatest where glyphosate-resistant crops have been available. However, this has led to increases in herbicide resistant weeds. In addition, for organic and vegetable producers, there are limited herbicide options. Therefore, improving the efficacy of nonchemical approaches to managing weeds is essential for broader adoption of reduced-tillage production system. This work focuses on site-specific ecological-based approaches to managing weeds in reduced-tillage cropping systems. The impact is that it provides a synthesis for researchers on the best nonchemical approaches to weed management in reduced-tillage crop production.
Technical Abstract: Reduced-tillage systems including no-tillage and strip tillage have well-known benefits for conserving and improving soils, protecting vulnerable crops from extreme weather events, and reducing labor and fuel costs associated with full-width inversion tillage. Despite these benefits, reduced-tillage has not been widely adopted in many cropping systems due in part to the increased difficulty of managing weeds when tillage is not used. Not surprisingly, adoption of reduced-tillage has occurred primarily in crops for which low-cost, effective herbicides are available, including glyphosate-resistant soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], corn (Zea mays L.), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), and sugarbeets (Beta vulgaris L.). Increased use of a narrow range of herbicides in these cropping systems has exacerbated problems of herbicide resistance. Conversely, adoption of reduced-tillage has been limited in crops where effective herbicides are not available (e.g. in ‘‘minor crops’’ like vegetables) or prohibited (e.g. in organic production systems). Research aimed at identifying nonchemical approaches to managing weeds in reduced-tillage production systems has the potential to increase adoption of reduced-tillage while minimizing herbicide use and selection pressure for herbicide resistance in production systems currently using reduced tillage.