Weed competitiveness can be quantified with the concept of competitive index (CI), a relative scale of weed competitiveness. Field studies were conducted in 2002 and 2003 in northeastern and southeastern Nebraska to evaluate the influence of soybean row spacing and relative weed emergence time on the competitiveness of major weed species in soybean. Ten weed species were seeded in soybean spaced 19 and 76 cm apart at the planting, emergence, and first trifoliate leaf stages of soybean. Total weed dry matter (TDM), weed plant volume, and percent soybean yield loss were arbitrarily selected as a base for determining the CI for each weed species. Soybean yield loss was the least variable parameter used to quantify weed competitiveness and rank their CIs. In general, weeds grown with soybean planted in 19-cm rows produced less TDM, plant volume, and reduced soybean yield less than weed species grown in 76-cm rows. Later-emerging weeds produced less TDM, plant volume, and reduced soybean yield less than the early-emerging ones. In general, broadleaf species were more competitive than grass weed species. Common sunflower was the most competitive weed species in this study.
Nomenclature: Common sunflower, Helianthus annuus L. HELAN; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr. ‘Agripro 2502’, ‘Agripro 2703’.