Help your crops win the war against weeds by increasing their competitiveness against them (an alternative heading is ‘Give your crop heaven and your weeds hell’ – but not sure about the religious connotations!)
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.
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.
And here’s more advice from the WeedSmart crop competition experts:
- Can planting a tight crop improve weed control?
- Use your crop as a weapon
- Using your crop to fight weeds
- Webinar with Prof Deirdre Lemerle: Using your crop to fight weeds
- Up the competition
- Employ crop competitiveness to combat weeds
- Higher seeding rates lower weeds
- Narrow row spacing: is it worth going back?
- AHRI insight: Sow west young man
- AHRI insight: Left jab, right hook
- AHRI insight: Heal thy soil, heal thy crops, kill thy weeds
Click on the below for further information on the options you have to increase the competitiveness of your own crops.