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Integrated Weed Management: Knowledge-Based Weed Management Systems

  • Clarence J. Swanton (a1), Kris J. Mahoney (a1), Kevin Chandler (a1) and Robert H. Gulden (a1)


The fundamental role of integrated weed management (IWM) is to provide a source of scientifically based knowledge from which growers can make informed weed-management decisions. The objectives of this article include (1) highlighting the essential knowledge base required for the success of an IWM cropping system, (2) identifying the barriers to acceptance of IWM, and (3) discussing the future research opportunities for IWM. The minimum knowledge base consists of four key components: the effect of tillage on weed population dynamics, the time of weed emergence relative to the crop, the critical period for weed control, and the concept of a harvest window. There are substantial barriers, however, that reduce the willingness of growers to adopt the components of an IWM cropping system. IWM systems can be perceived as unreliable resulting in increased risk to management. No direct economic benefit can be defined clearly nor has there been sustained support for the adoption of IWM. In the future, IWM must change from a descriptive to a predictive science. As new markets evolve for agricultural products, new quality issues will arise that may influence weed management. Environmental auditing of IWM systems in terms of ISO 14000 accreditation, total carbon credits, or energy use will provide an important template from which comparisons of alternative weed-control strategies can be assessed. IWM strategies must be developed to reduce the risk to management and to gain broader support from the crop-protection industry, growers, and government.


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