Glyphosate-resistant horseweed is difficult to manage in no-tillage crop production fields and new strategies are needed. Cover crops may provide an additional management tool but narrow establishment windows and colder growing conditions in northern climates may limit the cover crop biomass required to suppress horseweed. Field experiments were conducted in 3 site-years in Michigan to investigate the effects of two fall-planted cover crops, cereal rye and winter wheat, seeded at 67 or 135 kg ha–1, to suppress horseweed when integrated with three preplant herbicide strategies in no-tillage soybean. The preplant strategies were control (glyphosate only), preplant herbicide without residuals (glyphosate + 2,4-D), and preplant herbicide with residuals (glyphosate + 2,4-D + flumioxazin + metribuzin). Cereal rye produced 79% more biomass and provided 12% more ground cover than winter wheat in 2 site-years. Increasing seeding rate provided 41% more cover biomass in 1 site-year. Cover crops reduced horseweed density 47% to 96% and horseweed biomass by 59% to 70% compared with no cover at the time of cover crop termination. Cover crops provided no additional horseweed suppression 5 wk after soybean planting if a preplant herbicide with or without residuals was applied, but reduced horseweed biomass greater than 33% in the absence of preplant herbicides. Cover crops did not affect horseweed suppression at the time of soybean harvest or influence soybean yield. Preplant herbicide with residuals and without residuals provided at least 52% and 20% greater soybean yield compared with the control at 2 site-years, respectively. Cereal rye and winter wheat provided early-season horseweed suppression at biomass levels below 1,500 kg ha–1, lower than previously reported. This could give growers in northern climates an effective strategy for suppressing horseweed through the time of POST herbicide application while reducing selection pressure for horseweed that is resistant to more herbicide sites of action.
Nomenclature: horseweed; Conyza canadensis L. Cronq.; winter wheat; Triticum aestivum L.; cereal rye; Secale cereale L.; soybean; Glycine max (L.) Merr.