SCIENCE NEWS: Surveys have shown that horseweed is an unpredictable and persistent foe in soybean fields

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At harvest, horseweed plants were found in soybean fields. Credit: Alyssa Essman, The Ohio State University

Horseweed is one of the most common and most troublesome weeds in soybean production–shown to cause yield losses of up to 39 percent in the Midwest growing region. A single horseweed plant can produce up to 200,000 seeds that can be easily spread across vast distances. Horseweed is also becoming more difficult to manage due to herbicide resistance.

In an article featured in Volume 69, Issue 6, of the journal Weed Science, researchers share findings from a large-scale study to assess the late-season occurrence of horseweed in 49 Ohio counties where soybeans are grown. Surveys were conducted annually over a period of five years to determine the frequency, level of infestation and distribution of horseweed over time and to identify significant clusters and movement trends.

Researchers found there was a marked increase in infestations over the five-year period of the study. Horseweed was encountered in each county during each year of the survey–in as many as 38 percent of fields overall. However, it was not possible to predict future infestations by observing a consistent pattern of movement or distribution from year to year.

” The surveys demonstrate the importance of vigilance, proactivity,” said Alyssa Essman, Ph.D. of The Ohio State University. “Based on our findings, growers can expect horseweed to persist as a common and troublesome threat to soybean yields. They will need to inspect fields and make horseweed control a priority in order to reduce the impact and frequency of infestations.

More information:
Alyssa I. Essman et al, A survey evaluating the spatial and temporal distribution of horseweed (Conyza canadensis) late season in Ohio soybean fields from 2013 to 2017, Weed Science (2021). DOI: 10.1017/wsc.2021. 42

Surveys show horseweed is a persistent and unpredictable foe in soybean crops (2021, November 19)
retrieved 21 November 2021

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