Weed management represents a major barrier to sustainable production of both field and vegetable crops in the NC region. Conventional growers face increasing pressures to reduce herbicide use and address herbicide resistance. Organic farmers often rely on expensive hand-weeding that reduces profitability. Advances in material science and engineering have resulted in new tools and techniques for physical weed control (PWC) that can help address these constraints and simultaneously improve profitability and environmental health in the NC region. These tools have begun to hit the market, but growers need guidance on which tools to purchase and how best to integrate them into their cropping systems. The primary goal of this proposal is to foster partnerships between growers and researchers in the North Central (NC) region to improve understanding and adoption of efficient, low cost PWC tools. Specific objectives include: 1) broadening understanding of new PWC tools and techniques through conference participation, farm-tours, and on-farm testing; 2) sharing existing knowledge of state of the art PWC equipment and techniques through a one-day workshop; and 3) developing videos and factsheets to summarize and disseminate innovations to a broad grower audience.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our primary goal is to foster partnerships between growers and Ag professionals in the NC region that improve understanding and adoption of newly available PWC tools, thereby increasing farm profitability and reducing herbicide use. Specific objectives are to:
- Broaden understanding of new PWC tools and techniques being used effectively in other regions and their potential application in NC cropping systems
- Share existing knowledge of state of the art PWC equipment and techniques through a one-day field day
- Develop video and text-based extension materials to summarize and disseminate PWC innovations to a broad grower audience.