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Kochia project finding tough, resistant weeds across the prairies

A group of researchers is looking at how best to make a dent in a resistant weed population that's a concern for prairie farmers.

Kochia is a weed that has exploded with herbicide resistance, often times not being affected by glyphosate and group 2 herbicides such as dicamba.

That's why researchers are looking at what the best method is to get rid of that weed before they become a serious adversary for farmers.

Shannon Chant, a Crops Extension Specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, details the three practices they studied during their research.

"We studied them independently, just to make sure there wasn't a whole lot of variables going on. We looked at seed bag production, by weed wiping with glyphosate or weed clipping, or the seed destructor. We also looked at herbicide layering, so that's kinda using different herbicides at different timing all to target one weed, and then including winter cereals in crop rotation with pulses."

Firstly, the weed clipping managed to produce good results though lentils didn't end up making a comeback from the weeds.

"They started clipping - and this was in lentils, so they had it in a forage harvester that was above the lentil crop, they started that when the Kochia was about 8 inches taller than the lentils," said Chant, "These practices did reduce Kochia plant populations in the season of use and did reduce the amount of Kochia seed that went back to the seed bank. It did not increase lentil yields, and these were smaller plots so those have more of an impact."

For the seed destructor, they managed to get 95% destruction of Kochia seeds so that was also labeled as a success.

When it came to herbicide layering many combinations were tested, with a pair of options seemingly working very well.

"When the herbicide was used in the fall," said Chant, "They found that a fall-applied group 14 product by itself, or a combination of group 14 and 15, followed by the glyphosate in the spring and in-crop provided the highest lentil yields and the best control of Kochia plants."

Researchers then looked to see if winter wheat varieties were better at controlling Kochia than spring wheat.

 "Compared to the spring wheat, neither one actually reduced Kochia populations. This may require a bit more looking into, as we did canola and then the second year was either spring wheat, fall rye, or winter wheat and then the third year was lentil or peas," said Chant, "So it's really only gone through one rotation, sot his might be something to look at again."

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