Conservation agriculture (CA) practices are threatened by glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. Integrated control practices including PRE herbicides and high-residue CA systems can decrease Amaranthus emergence. Field experiments were conducted from autumn 2006 through crop harvest in 2009 at two sites in Alabama to evaluate the effect of integrated weed management practices on Amaranthus population density and biomass, cotton yield, and economics in glyphosate-resistant cotton. Horizontal strips included four CA systems with three cereal rye cover crop seeding dates and a winter fallow (WF) CA system compared to a conventional tillage (CT) system. Additionally, vertical strips of four herbicide regimes consisted of: broadcast, banded, or no PRE applications of S-metolachlor (1.12 kg ai ha−1) followed by (fb) glyphosate (1.12 kg ae ha−1) applied POST fb layby applications of diuron (1.12 kg ai ha−1) plus MSMA (2.24 kg ai ha−1) or the LAYBY application alone. Early-season Amaranthus density was reduced in high-residue CA in comparison to the CA WF systems in 2 of 3 yr. Amaranthus densities in herbicide treatments that included a broadcast PRE application were lower at three of five sampling dates compared to banding early-season PRE applications; however, the differences were not significant during the late season and cotton yields were not affected by PRE placement. High-residue conservation tillage yields were 577 to 899 kg ha−1 more than CT, except at one site in 1 yr when CT treatment yields were higher. CA utilizing high-residue cover crops increased net returns over CT by $100 ha−1 or more 2 out of 3 yr at both locations. High-residue cover crop integration into a CA system reduced Amaranthus density and increased yield over WF systems; the inclusion of a broadcast PRE application can increase early-season Amaranthus control and might provide additional control when glyphosate-resistant Amaranthus populations are present.
Nomenclature: Diuron; glyphosate; MSMA; S-metolachlor; Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats.; cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L; rye, Secale cereale L.