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Reduced herbicide rates provide acceptable weed control regardless of corn planting strategy in Ontario field corn

, : Reduced herbicide rates provide acceptable weed control regardless of corn planting strategy in Ontario field corn. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 88(2): 373-378

A study was conducted at three locations in central-southwestern Ontario from 1996 to 1998 to determine if corn (Zea mays L.) productivity and weed control can be maintained when row spacing is narrowed, crop density is increased and herbicide rate is reduced. Post-emergence herbicides [(rimsulfuron + nicosulfuron) plus (dicamba + atrazine)] at four rates (full label rate (1 x), 75% full rate (0.75 x), 50%, full rate (0.5 x) and an untreated check) were tested at three corn row-spacings (38, 50, and 75 cm) and two plant densities (75 000 and 90 000 plants ha(-1)). Herbicide application at the 0.5x rate versus an untreated check still allowed for increased corn yield 8.3 vs. 4.9 t ha(-1)) and decreased weed dry weight (9.4 vs. 240.4 g m(-2)), weed plant density (11.0 vs. 52.6 plants m(-2)) and weed seed density (239 vs. 14241 seeds m(-2)). Corn LAI was not affected by decreasing herbicide rate. In this study, increasing corn plant density and decreasing corn row spacing were not factors in reducing herbicide inputs in corn cropping systems in central-southwestern Ontario. Herbicide rate could be reduced by up to 50% while maintaining corn grain yield, weed density, weed dry weight, and the number of weed seeds entering into the soil seed bank. Implementation of these reduced rates will help to increase the economic and environmental sustainability of the Canadian Field corn industry.


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