Evaluating and Demonstrating Weed Control Options for Direct Seeded Fall Vegetable Crops

Project Overview

ONC18-038
Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2018: $29,495.00
Projected End Date: 12/01/2019
Grant Recipient: K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Tom Buller
K-State Research and Extension-DG Co

Information Products

Commodities

  • Vegetables: beets, carrots, greens (leafy)

Practices

  • Crop Production: Organic Weed Control
  • Education and Training: participatory research
  • Pest Management: cultivation, cultural control
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Abstract:

    This project researched, analyzed and demonstrated the efficacy of several minimal tillage techniques to manage weeds generally, but especially amaranthus weeds, commonly referred to as pigweed, in fall grown vegetable crops that are usually direct seeded including spinach, beets, and carrots.

    Through trials on three certified organic vegetable farms, the project collected information about the efficacy of various non-chemical and minimal tillage methods to manage weeds, while analyzing the efficiency of labor usage, in order to inform growers about optimizing their integrated weed management strategy.  During two years of field trials numerous challenges plagued the participating farmers limiting the available data, but the overall conclusion was that no one stale seedbed technique was ideal, and that multiple passes or multiple techniques needed to be used together to create optimal weed control.  None of these techniques proved to burden farm labor excessively.   Two of the participating farmers plan to continue using the tools for stale seed bedding, most likely in concert, with either occultation followed by a pass with the power harrow or the flame weeder. The third farmer is scaling back vegetable production in future seasons.  

    This information was shared with other growers in the area through field days in 2019 and 2020 and example plots available for the 2019 Kaw Valley Farm Tour.  Additionally, the information was shared at presentations about vegetable production in Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri.  

    Project objectives:

    This project:

    • Trialed several non-chemical, minimal tillage weed control practices to manage weeds in fall vegetable crops including spinach, beets, and carrots on three farms in Kansas
    • Monitor various performance metrics of the different techniques such as labor time necessary for adequate weed control and harvest yield to provide a detailed picture of management technique performance.  No significant differences in weed management was achieved using any of the techniques separately. 
    • Compile and disseminate information to aid farmers in decision-making for weed management strategies

     

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.