Developing and Extending Minimum Input Strategies for Weed Control in Agronomic and Horticultural Crops
Weed Control in Agronomic and Horticultural Crops with Greatly Reduced Rates of Herbicide
Findings of this project show that reduced herbicide programs are both possible and practical with no loss in weed control and crop yield in many locations and crops in Arkansas. Major findings have shown that herbicide inputs can be greatly reduced by substituting mechanical weed control, spraying herbicide in narrow bands, targeting herbicide to most susceptible weed species, and making very early application.
For example, use of band application and new cultivator equipment have reduced herbicide costs in cotton from $21 to $2.30 per acre. Survey results indicate that approximately one-third of the Arkansas soybean producers have adopted this herbicide-reduction technology, at a cost savings of $7 million annually. Some of the concepts developed for soybeans are being adapted to other agronomic and horticultural crops in this project, including vegetables. Research in wheat has shown that rates as low as one-fourth the labeled herbicide rates can be used.
Investigators have concluded that further reduction of herbicide inputs can best be accomplished by an integrated program of crop rotation, cover cropping, living mulches and tillage methods such as ridge till.