Research spotlights the role of cover crops in slowing herbicide resistance

crops
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

An article in the most recent edition of the journal Weed Science shows that cover crops can play an important role in slowing the development of herbicide resistant weeds.

Researchers conducted field experiments in Pennsylvania to explore how cover cropping tactics influenced the management of horseweed in no-till . Seven cover-cropping treatments were used over two subsequent growing seasons.

There were several significant findings. In comparison to fallow control plots, cover crop treatments reduced horseweed density at the time of a pre-plant, burndown herbicide application by 52% in the first year and 86% in the next. This reduced the herbicide "workload" and lowered the selection pressure for resistant weeds. Cereal rye alone or in combination with forage radish was found to provide the most consistent horseweed suppression.

Importantly, winter hardy cover also reduced horseweed size inequality—meaning fewer large horseweed plants were found at the time of herbicide application. Researchers say this reduces the chance of a size-dependent fitness advantage for horseweed biotypes that develop resistance.

"Our hope is that understanding the complementary relationship between cover crops and herbicides can lead to new weed control strategies that slow the development of ," says John M. Wallace, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University.


Explore further

Researchers find cereal rye is effective at reducing Amaranthus spp. density in soybean crops

More information: John M. Wallace et al, Cover crop effects on horseweed (Erigeron canadensis) density and size inequality at the time of herbicide exposure, Weed Science (2019). DOI: 10.1017/wsc.2019.3
Citation: Research spotlights the role of cover crops in slowing herbicide resistance (2019, May 10) retrieved 19 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-spotlights-role-crops-herbicide-resistance.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
5 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more