Weed Management: A Holistic Approach to Unwelcome Plants

Mar 15, 2022 10:15 AM ET
Campaign: Digital Farming

Originally posted on Bayer

A weed is a plant, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. These plants compete with crops for nutrients, water, and sunlight. When uncontrolled, weeds can take over a field, ruining a farmer’s chances of a productive harvest.

While chemical herbicides are often a familiar and effective solution for controlling weeds, the overdependence on a single solution can create resistance, leaving weeds unchecked. Increasing weed resistance threatens farmers’ harvests and livelihoods, while also increasing agriculture’s burden on the environment. Bayer has been partnering for many years with farmers, weed scientists, retailers, applicators and other agricultural stakeholders to implement integrated weed management programs by promoting a combination of diverse chemical and non-chemical methods.

In addition, Bayer is raising the bar and has committed to invest approximately 5 billion euros in a comprehensive and future-oriented approach regarding weed management, including digital technologies and agronomic practices. Our goal is to provide farmers all over the world with new weed control solutions, programs, and services that support their strategies to prevent and control unwanted plants in the field.

Integrated Weed Management

We offer farmers sustainable Integrated Weed Management (IWM) programs to help guide them through science-based, best practices for crop protection and herbicide stewardship.

Integrated Weed Management programs from Bayer are designed as customized agronomic solutions built to show farmers that “It Pays Off” to take a holistic approach to weed management through diversified tactics like crop rotation, cover crop planting, utilizing multiple modes of action, and other cultural and mechanical practices such as harvest weed seed control (HWSC).

Incorporating a combination of weed management measures helps to sustain weed control systems over time and maintain farms’ ability to provide productive harvests while protecting the soil.

Preventing weeds and improving the soil with cover crops

The use of cover crops is one way to prevent weeds from taking root in a field. Cover crops are crops planted between growing seasons of a farmer’s primary crop to keep invasive plants from taking root in their fields as well as improve their soil’s health. These crops affect weeds much like weeds do primary crops, by robbing them of the sunlight and nutrients needed for growth. Cover crops, like grasses and legumes, can also help farmers more effectively use fertilizer and crop protection products during the growing season.

Over time, a cover crop regimen has the potential to increase soil organic matter, leading to improvements in soil structure and stability, and increased moisture and nutrient holding capacity for plant growth. The organic matter left behind from past cover crops can also increase water infiltration and reduces evaporation, keeping water where crops need it.