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Deteriorating weed control and variable weather portends greater soybean yield losses in the future


Since the 1950’s much of the US soybean growing region has experienced rising temperatures, more variable rainfall, and increased carbon emissions. These trends are predicted to continue throughout the 21st century. Variable weather and weed interference influence crop performance; however, their combined effects on soybean yield are poorly understood. Using machine learning techniques on a database of herbicide trials spanning 28 years and 106 weather environments we modeled the most important relationships among weed control, weather variability, and crop management on soybean yield loss. When late-season weeds were poorly controlled, average soybean yield losses of 48% were observed. Additionally, when weeds were not completely controlled, low rainfall and high temperatures during seed fill exacerbated soybean yield loss due to weeds. Since much of the US soybean growing region is heading towards drier, warmer conditions, coupled with growing herbicide resistance, future soybean yield loss will increase without significant improvements in weed management systems.

Click Here to read the article by Christopher A. Landau, Aaron G. Hager, Martin M. Williams II