Horseweed a foe for soybean crops

Researchers have shown through a study that horseweed is a persistent yet unpredictable foe for soybean crops known to cause losses in tune of up to 39 per cent in the Midwest region of the US.

Horseweed is one of the most common and most troublesome weeds in soybean production and according to estimates, a single horseweed plant can produce up to 200,000 seeds that can be easily spread across vast distances. In addition, herbicide resistance has made horseweed increasingly difficult to control.

In a new article published in journal Weed Science, researchers have revealed findings of their study that asses the late-season occurrence of horseweed in 49 Ohio counties where soybeans are grown. They found that 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. Unfortunately, though, there was no distinct, year to year pattern of distribution or movement to help forecast areas susceptible to future infestations.

“The surveys show the importance of vigilance and proactivity,” says Alyssa I. 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. To reduce the frequency and impact of infestations, they will need to scout fields carefully and make horseweed control a top priority.”

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