Improved Weed Management Decisions Supports Systems

Grain producers use herbicides to control weeds that can significantly reduce the yield and quality of their crops; however, these chemicals are increasingly expensive. Many weed species are developing resistance to commonly used herbicides, and herbicide use also raises environmental and social concerns. Producers need to integrate alternative methods for controlling weeds in order to improve profitability, reduce environmental impacts, and prevent the establishment of resistant weed species. Weed science has lagged behind other pest management disciplines in the development of an integrated approach. One major impediment to developing Integrated Weed Management (IWM) systems is a lack of information on weed ecology at both local and regional scales. To develop strategies that are proactive, rather than reactive, weed management efforts need to begin addressing the question, “Why does a given weed species succeed under certain conditions and not others?” Scientists need to better understand the patterns and processes of weed ecology and weed/ crop interactions on a regional scale in order to provide a broader context for weed management decision-making. More specifically, scientists need to develop integrated strategies that focus on economically and environmentally sustainable solutions to complex weed management problems.

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