Research is needed to develop more comprehensive integrated weed management systems that would facilitate greater adoption by farmers. A field study was conducted to determine the combined effects of seed date (April or May), seed rate (recommended or 150% of recommended), fertilizer timing (fall or spring applied), and in-crop herbicide rate (50 or 100% of recommended) on weed growth and crop yield. This factorial set of treatments was applied in four consecutive years within a barley-field pea–barley-field pea rotation in a zero-till production system. Both barley and field pea phases of the rotation were grown each year to account for variable environmental conditions over years. Weed biomass was often lower with May than with April seeding because of more weeds being controlled with preplant glyphosate. However, despite fewer weeds being present with May seeding, barley yield was only greater in 1 of 4 yr and field pea yield was actually lower with May than with April seeding in 3 of 4 yr, indicating that optimum seed date is highly dependent on crop species and environmental conditions. Higher crop seed rates reduced weed biomass and increased crop yield in 2 of 4 yr in each of barley and field pea. Fertilizer timing had little effect on weed competition in barley, but spring- compared with fall-applied fertilizer reduced weed biomass and increased field pea yield in 2 of 4 yr. In-crop herbicides applied at 50% compared with 100% rates sometimes resulted in greater weed biomass and lower crop yields with recommended crop seed rates, but few differences were noted at high crop seed rates. Indeed, the weed seed bank at the conclusion of the 4-yr study was not greater with the 50% compared with 100% herbicide rate when high crop seed rates were used. This study demonstrates the combined merits of early seeding (April), higher crop seed rates, and spring-applied fertilizer in conjunction with timely but limited herbicide use to manage weeds and maintain high yields in rotations containing barley and field pea.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; barley, Hordeum vulgare L. ‘AC Harper’; field pea, Pisum sativum L. ‘Swing’.
Additional index words: Fertilizer timing, integrated weed management, reduced herbicide rate, seed date, seed rate, weed competition.
Abbreviation: IWM, integrated weed management.