Growers need affordable methods to sample weed populations to reduce herbicide use with site-specific weed management. Sampling programs and methods of developing sampling programs for integrated pest management are not sufficient for site-specific weed management because more and different information is needed to make treatment maps than simply estimate average pest density. Sampling plans for site-specific weed management must provide information to map the weeds in the field but should be developed for the objective of prescribing spatially variable management. Weed scientists will be most successful at designing plans for site-specific weed management if they focus on this objective throughout the process of designing a sampling plan. They must also learn more about the spatial distribution and dynamics of weed populations and use that knowledge to identify cost-effective plans, recommend methods to make maps as well as collect data, and find ways to evaluate maps that reflect management to be prescribed from the map. Foremost, sampling must be thought of as an ongoing process over time that uses many types of information rather than a single event of collecting one type of information. Specifically, scientists will need to identify common characteristics rather than just differences of the spatial distribution of weeds among fields and species, recognize that map accuracy may be a poor indicator of the value of a sampling plan, and develop methods to use growers' knowledge of the distribution of weeds and past spatially variable management within a field for both making a map and recommending a sampling plan. The value of proposed methods for sampling and mapping must also be demonstrated or adoption of site-specific weed management might be limited to growers who enjoy using sophisticated technology.
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Vol. 53 • No. 2