All farmers know that poor weed control reduces income. Staying on top of income-robbing weeds requires two things: first, knowing which species cause farmers the most grief and, second, understanding which management practices consistently provide good weed control. I asked over 30 agronomists from across Ontario to share their biggest challenges and successes in weed management. More than two-thirds responded, and many reported having had similar experiences.
When asked which major weed control challenges occurred during the 2020 season, their reports included more than 20 different weed species. The most frequently mentioned species are illustrated using a word cloud, where the larger the text is for a weed species, the more often it was identified as being a problem to manage in field crops (Figure 1 at top). Lamb’s quarters and Canada fleabane continue their reign as top challenges.
Agronomists also shared their experiences on which management practices consistently result in good weed control. Not surprisingly, multiple and diverse methods for tackling weeds were consistently identified and are ranked in the second word cloud (Figure 2 at top).
Last, agronomists shared their general concerns on issues that not only affect their ability to successfully manage weeds but also have the potential to negatively affect relationships amongst neighbours when not proactively dealt with. Their most common concerns are illustrated in the final word cloud (Figure 3 below).
Over the next several columns, I will tackle many of these issues with the objective of providing guidance on what can be done to address them.