The compositions of the germinable weed seedbank and aboveground weed communities in a long-term tillage and rotation study were characterized 4, 5, and 6 yr (2002 to 2004) after the adoption of glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybean. Averaged across rotation, mean germinable weed seed density and diversity were greatest in the no-tillage treatment as compared to the minimum- and conventional-tillage treatments. Averaged over tillage, density and diversity were greater in the corn–oat–hay (ryegrass alfalfa) system as compared to the continuous corn and corn–soybean rotations. Similar trends in density and diversity were observed for the aboveground weed communities. Differences in community composition among treatments were quantified with the use of a multiresponse permutation procedure. Results indicated that the weed seedbank community in a corn–oat–hay rotational system differed from the communities associated with the continuous corn and corn–soybean rotational systems. Weed seedbank communities developing under a no-tillage operation differed from those in minimum- and conventional-tillage scenarios. Compositional differences among the aboveground weed communities were less pronounced in response to tillage and rotation. Indicator species analyses indicated that the number of significant indicator weed species was generally higher for no tillage than minimum or conventional tillage for both the seedbank and the aboveground weed communities. The number of significant indicator species for the seedbank and weed communities was generally greater in the three-crop rotation as compared to the continuous corn and corn–soybean rotations. The trends observed in density, diversity, and community composition after the adoption of glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans, and a glyphosate-dominated weed management program, were also observed when soil-applied herbicides were included in the study. We suggest that the switch to a POST-glyphosate protocol did not significantly alter weed communities in the short term in this study.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; alfalfa, Medicago sativa L.; corn, Zea mays L.; oat, Avena sativa L.; ryegrass, Lolium perenne L.; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr.