Variable weather makes weeds harder to whack

From flooded spring fields to summer hailstorms and drought, farmers are well aware the weather is changing. It often means spring planting can't happen on time or has to happen twice to make up for catastrophic losses of ...

Automated weed and feed: Developing a smart crop sprayer

Conventional crop-spraying with herbicide to kill weeds among a crop wastes a lot of the herbicide and raises environmental concerns. A smart crop sprayer might identify weeds growing through the crop and spot spray only ...

Herbicide

Herbicides, also commonly known as weedkillers, are pesticides used to kill unwanted plants. Selective herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often synthetic "imitations" of plant hormones. Herbicides used to clear waste ground, industrial sites, railways and railway embankments are non-selective and kill all plant material with which they come into contact. Smaller quantities are used in forestry, pasture systems, and management of areas set aside as wildlife habitat.

Some plants produce natural herbicides, such as the genus Juglans (walnuts), or the tree of heaven; such action of natural herbicides, and other related chemical interactions, is called allelopathy.

Herbicides are widely used in agriculture and in landscape turf management. In the U.S., they account for about 70% of all agricultural pesticide use.

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