Blackgrass (Alopecurus myosuroides Huds.) and silky windgrass [Apera spica-venti (L.) P. Beauv.] are becoming a significant problem in Europe. Due to the development of herbicide-resistant biotypes and unwanted side effects of herbicides, there is a need for new integrated weed management strategies to control weeds. Therefore, reducing weed infestations by targeting seed production during crop harvest should be considered. In 2017 and 2018, we estimated the fraction of the total seed production of A. myosuroides and A. spica-venti in a field that potentially could be collected by a grain harvester during winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) harvest. Twenty plants of each species were surrounded by a porous net before flowering to trap shed seeds during reproductive development. Seeds were collected and counted weekly up until and immediately before wheat harvest, and the ratio of harvestable seeds to shed seeds during the growing season was determined. Alopecurus myosuroides produced on average 953 seeds plant–1 in 2017 and 3,337 seeds plant–1 in 2018. In 2017 and 2018, 29% and 37% of the total A. myosuroides seeds produced, respectively, were retained on plants at maturity. Apera spica-venti produced on average 1,192 seeds plant–1 in 2017 and 5,678 seeds plant–1 in 2018, and retained 53% and 16% of the seeds at harvest, respectively. If a grain harvester potentially collected approximately 30% of the total seed production of the two grass weeds and removed or killed them, it would reduce seed input to the soil seedbank. However, such methods cannot stand alone to reduce weed pressure.
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Vol. 68 • No. 2