3 years ago

The implications of spatially variable pre-emergence herbicide efficacy for weed management

Jonathan Storkey, Richard Hull, Helen Metcalfe, Alistair J Murdoch, Alice E Milne
BACKGROUND The efficacy of pre-emergence herbicides within fields is spatially variable due to soil heterogeneity. We quantified the effect of soil organic matter on the efficacy of two pre-emergence herbicides; flufenacet and pendimethalin, against A. myosuroides and investigated the implications of variation in organic matter for weed management using a crop-weed competition model. RESULTS Soil organic matter played a critical role in determining the level of control achieved. The high organic matter soil had more surviving weeds with higher biomass than the low organic matter soil. In the absence of competition, surviving plants recovered to produce the same amount of seed as if no herbicide were applied. The competition model predicted that weeds surviving pre-emergence herbicides could compensate for sub-lethal effects even when competing with the crop. The ED50 was higher for weed seed production than seedling mortality or biomass. This difference was greatest on high organic matter soil. CONCLUSION These results show that the application rate of herbicides should be adjusted to account for within-field variation in soil organic matter. The results from the modelling emphasised the importance of crop competition in limiting the capacity of weeds surviving pre-emergence herbicides to compensate and replenish the seedbank.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/ps.4784

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