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SWEEP Report #48

The Feasibility of Band Spray Application in Conjunction
with Inter-Row Cultivation in No-Till Corn

J. Rigby, Blenheim, Ont., J.E. Shaw, Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology, Ridgetown, Ont., Southwestern Ontario Agricultural Research Corporation (SWOARC), Harrow, Ont.

Executive Summary

Evaluation Summary (Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)

View / Download Final Report  [995 KB pdf]

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research


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Completed: May, 1992

Key Words:

no-till, weed control, corn, band-spray, inter-row cultivation

Executive Summary

The goal of this study was to develop an integrated weed management program for use in reduced-tillage corn production utilizing band herbicide application in conjunction with inter- row cultivation. Also it was our intent to further evaluate the efficacy and usefulness of specific preemergent and postemergent herbicide treatments suitable for use within this systems approach to weed management, and finally to test this technology under grower conditions using field scale equipment and large research plots.

The results of this study show that shallow cultivation between crop rows is very effective in providing control of weeds in these areas. Cultivation alone did not have a significant effect on crop yield. When cultivation was used, the low recommended herbicide rate provided equivalent weed control and yield to the higher recommended rate of herbicide, both when the herbicides were broadcast overall and when they were applied in a band over the row. These results show that one inter-row cultivation was satisfactory.

Most preemergent and postemergent herbicide treatments tested performed very well. Of the thirty treatments evaluated, only two treatments failed to provide consistent commercially acceptable weed control. Those two treatments could only be faulted one year out of three years of testing.

The large scale field trial was the ultimate test of the technology. Results show that crop yield was virtually unaffected by cultivation. Weed control was maintained at a high level, well above commercially acceptable standards, and the technology was easily adapted to large scale field operations. Soil disturbance was minimal, crop residue remained on the soil surface and the shallow layer of disturbed soil did not erode.

The farmer involved, and project manager, was quick to point out that the combine at harvest in damp conditions may tend to slide out of the undisturbed row area, particularly on side hills; in stony conditions the cultivator may roll stones into the row area; and that root pruning could be a problem if the operator allowed the cultivator to penetrate too deeply. Also he noted that herbicide usage was reduced by 60% and weed management costs were reduced by 40% when this technology was applied to his general farming operation.

Growers can apply this concept immediately if they wish. All they need is the appropriate equipment. The herbicide treatments are currently registered for use.


Evaluation Summary

(From Technology Transfer Report Summaries - A. Hayes, L. Cruickshank, Co-Chairs)

This study evaluated the efficacy of using band-spraying and inter-row cultivation for weed control in no-till corn. Preemergent and postemergent herbicides were evaluated for their suitability within this integrated weed management system.

The results indicate that shallow inter-row cultivation and the low recommended rate of herbicide (banded or broadcast overall) produced weed control and yields equivalent to the higher recommended rate of herbicide. Most preemergent and postemergent herbicide treatments performed very well.

Under a large scale field trial of inter-row cultivation, yield was virtually unaffected, a high level of weed control was maintained, soil disturbance was minimal, crop residue remained on the surface, the shallow layer of disturbed soil did not erode, and the technology was easily adapted. Applying this technology to the general farming operation reduced herbicide usage by 60% and weed management costs by 40%.

Observations made by the researcher included:

  1. The burndown should not be applied too early, let the first flush of weeds be killed by the burndown.

  2. Care must be taken when banding post-emergent herbicides with the cultivator as dust can affect their performance.

  3. Good weed control was achieved in the experiments because the plots were weed free before the herbicide treatments were applied (due to the burndown).

  4. Cultivation did a better job of controlling the larger weeds, therefore it may be better to delay cultivation until the weeds are larger.


The study showed that this system performed well and has the following advantages:

  1. reduced rates of herbicides;

  2. reduced weed control costs;

  3. all the erosion control benefits of no-till.

The comments made by the farmer indicate that there are a few drawbacks to the system; they include:

  1. dependence upon weather for timely cultivation;

  2. the combine may tend to slide out of the undisturbed areas on side hills if conditions are damp.

The system certainly has its benefits but it is unknown what effects cultivation has on the soil macropores and on drainage.

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research:

  • SWEEP Report #19 - Studies on the Control of Problem Weed Species in Conservation Tillage Systems

  • SWEEP Report #19A - Weeds of Corn, Soybean and Winter Wheat Fields Under Conventional, Conservation and No-Till Management Systems in 1988 and 1989

  • SWEEP Report #32 - Optimal Herbicide Use in Conservation Tillage Systems

  • SWEEP Report #66 - Volume V. Economic Assessment of the Technology Evaluation and Development (TED) Program

Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for priority, A - high, C - low.

None required.




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Created: 05-28-1996
Last Revised: Thursday, May 19, 2011 03:31:31 PM