WEED CONTROL SYSTEMS IN SYNTHETIC AUXIN-RESISTANT SOYBEANS
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Herbicide-resistant weed populations have become problematic throughout the Eastern Corn Belt, with 18 unique herbicide-resistant weed biotypes confirmed in Indiana alone. In response to these resistant populations, the agricultural chemical industry has responded by developing glyphosate-resistant crops paired with resistance to synthetic auxin herbicides such as dicamba and 2,4-D.
This research evaluates weed population shifts in cropping systems using row crops that are resistant to synthetic auxin herbicides. Identifying weed population shifts will allow future research to be targeted to weed species that would become more prevalent in cropping systems using synthetic auxin-resistant crops. The use of multiple sites of action will be needed in order to prevent weed shifts in both conventional and no-till corn-soybean production systems. Weed densities and species richness were reduced within field evaluations when six or more herbicide sites of action were implemented with residual herbicides in both corn and soybean years over a seven-year period. Additionally, soil seedbank weed densities and species richness were reduced within 2,4-D-resistant soybean production systems. Additional strategies other than the application of herbicides may be needed to manage weed populations in the future due to the high levels of herbicide-resistant weed populations in the Midwest.
Off-target movement of these synthetic auxin herbicides, has been a concern, and label-mandated buffer areas are required near sensitive areas. Investigation of whether cover crops can be an effective tactic in managing weeds in these label-mandated buffer areas was conducted. Cover crop utilization in buffer areas has not been investigated in Indiana. Additionally, termination timing is becoming more prominent as farm operators are increasingly terminating cover crops after planting. Our results demonstrate that using cover crops that utilize cereal rye and that are terminated at, or after the time of soybean planting will be beneficial in suppressing waterhemp, grasses, and sometimes horseweed within label-mandated buffer areas, but not for suppression of giant ragweed. However, delaying termination of cover crops can result in soybean yield reductions and caution should be used. Terminating cover crops with glyphosate and auxin and a residual herbicide was more effective than glyphosate alone, but would not be permitted within label-mandated buffer areas.L