We don’t want to give the weeds a free kick by growing un-competitive crops. Crop competition with weeds is a double-edged sword. There is the effect of the weeds on the crop, and the effect of the crop on the weeds. A competitive crop will suffer less yield loss at the hands of the weeds, and will also reduce seed set of the weeds compared to an un-competitive crop. In other words more crop, fewer weeds.
In this week’s podcast, AHRI Extension Agronomist Greg Condon and AgriVision Agronomy Consultant Matt Bissett (pictured) provide excellent overviews on the different crop competition approaches that can be employed.
There are six main aspects of crop competition:
1. Seed rate
2. Row spacing
3. Orientation (north-south vs. east-west)
4. Crop variety/species
5. Soil health
6. Time of sowing – early sowing is usually best
It’s hard to get all of the six points above right, and growers need not aspire to practising all six of these competition factors, but they can use a range of these practices to ensure that their crops have a fighting chance against the weeds.