The objective of this study was to evaluate weed control, crop yields, potential soil loss, and net returns to management of an integrated weed management system in no-till corn and soybean compared to an herbicide-based strategy. The integrated weed management system reduced herbicide inputs by delayed cover crop termination, herbicide banding, and high-residue cultivation (reduced herbicide [RH]), while the other system used continuous no-tillage and herbicides to control weeds (standard herbicide [SH]). Research was conducted within the Penn State Sustainable Dairy Cropping Systems Experiment, where corn and soybean are each planted once in a 6-yr crop rotation. In this 3-yr study, weed density and biomass were often greater under RH management, but weed biomass never exceeded 19 g m−2 in corn and 21 g m−2 in soybean. Corn yield and population did not differ in any year, and net returns to management were $33.65 ha−1 higher in RH corn due to lower herbicide costs and slightly, though not significantly, higher yields. Soybean yield was lower in RH compared to SH in 2 of 3 yr, and was correlated with soybean population and cover crop residue. Net financial returns were $43.69 ha−1 higher in SH soybean compared to RH. Predicted soil loss never exceeded T (maximum allowable soil loss) for any treatment and slope combination, though soil loss was 100% greater on a 10% slope under RH management (vs. SH) due to cultivation.
Nomenclature: cereal rye (Secale cereale L.); corn (Zea mays L.); soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]