Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ragweed casts shade on soy production

28.03.2018

Weed more than nuisance for soybean

Ragweed, its pollen potent to allergy sufferers, might be more than a source of sneezes. In the Midwest, the plant may pose a threat to soybean production.


The experimental plots required weeding to maintain the right ragweed densities, and to remove other weeds.

Credit: Amit Jhala

Usage Restrictions: Please use with story only

Scientists have found that ragweed can drastically reduce soybean yield.

"It wasn't really a weed we were worried about too much," says Ethann Barnes, a graduate research assistant in agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "We didn't expect it to be this competitive."

Weeds compete with crops for light, water, and nutrients. Common ragweed, which is taller than soy, has historically been overlooked as a threat. And little is known about its impact on soy in the Midwest.

So, the scientists struck out to a soybean field near Mead, Nebraska. In 2015 and 2016, they planted soybean and ragweed in late spring. Within the experimental plots, ragweed density ranged from no plants (a weed-free control) to 12 plants per meter (about 39 inches) of the row.

The researchers had two goals: see if ragweed posed a serious threat to soybean, and see if there's a way to estimate the yield loss early in the growing season.

Barnes was surprised by how much the ragweed stifled the soybean in both years. The soybean crops did worse than in previous studies. One ragweed plant every 1.6 feet of soybean row decreased soybean yield by 76% in 2015, and by 40% in 2016. And soybean yield was reduced by 95% in 2015 and 80% in 2016 when common ragweed plants were grown only three inches apart in the soybean row.

During the experiment, there was plenty of water to go around for both plants. So, the scientists think ragweed mostly hurt soybean by starving it of sunlight.

"Whether I was presenting at conferences, or even just at my thesis defense, everyone was very surprised how big of a deal common ragweed could be," says Barnes.

What's more, it was very hard to predict early in the year how the soybean would fare. Barnes found that not until early August could he plug ragweed numbers into an equation and accurately predict what the soybean loss would be.

Now, Barnes and his team are sharing this information with growers in the area. "The ultimate goal of this area of science is for growers to count the number of weeds or make a measurement in their field three weeks into the season. From there they could see whether it's financially a viable option to control their weeds or just leave them in the field," says Barnes. By knowing how much damage the weeds might do, farmers can weigh that loss against the cost of killing the weeds.

More studies will be needed to hone in on the dynamics of ragweed-and other weed--growth. An end goal, he says, is to predict early in the season how weeds will impede crop yields, so farmers can make better decisions on how to manage them. Such estimates could help farmers know if, when, and how much pesticide to apply.

He hopes his study is a step toward that goal. "Hopefully it'll have an immediate impact for farmers, and advance the science of weed competition research."

###

The study was published in Agronomy Journal. The University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources funded the project.

Susan Fisk | EurekAlert!

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>