Ongoing development of integrated weed management systems on the Canadian prairies.
Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., O'Donovan, J.T., Beckie, H.J., and Smith, E.G. (2008). "Ongoing development of integrated weed management systems on the Canadian prairies.", Weed Science, 56(1), pp. 146-150. doi : 10.1614/WS-07-038.1
Herbicides are very effective tools to control weeds but there has been an overreliance on their use at the expense of other useful methods of weed management. Farmers are interested in alternative methods of weed management but are concerned about the risk of adopting such practices with current small profit margins. Research on the Canadian Prairies has found that cropping systems that utilize zero tillage, diverse crop rotations, competitive cultivars, higher crop seed rates, specific fertilizer management, and cover crops can effectively manage weed populations, especially when used in conjunction with targeted but limited use of herbicides. Farmers are gaining confidence in the merits of such agronomic practices in terms of sustainable weed management and are gradually adopting these integrated cropping systems on their farms. Further research and extension efforts are required to ensure that these integrated weed management systems are biologically and economically robust to facilitate greater adoption at the farm level.