Abstract: The objectives of this study were to determine the efficacy and risk of controlling weeds at reduced herbicide rates under various environmental and biotic conditions, through analysis of published data on the use of below-labeled rates of herbicides. A database was established by extracting information from previously published papers on weed control at below-labeled rates of herbicides in crop production systems over large geographical and temporal scales. The database was then analyzed to evaluate the efficacy and risk of using herbicides at various reduced rates under different management systems. Using below-labeled herbicide rates in conjunction with interrow cultivation is an effective way of reducing herbicide input in agricultural systems while maintaining satisfactory weed control. There are greater opportunities for herbicide reduction using preemergence (PRE) than preplant incorporated (PPI) or postemergence (POST) herbicides, in coarse-textured than in fine-textured soils, and in corn than in soybean or wheat. The success of reducing herbicide rates does not depend on whether the herbicides are applied in conventional or conservation tillage systems or whether they are used with or without adjuvants. The above conclusions are based on studies conducted in experimental fields where weed pressures may be subjectively chosen to be high. Greater potential for herbicide reduction may exist at locations or in cropping systems were weed pressure is low.
Nomenclature: Corn, Zea mays L.; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr.; wheat, Triticum aestivum L.
Additional index words: Database, herbicides, reduced rates, weed control efficacy.
Abbreviations: POST, postemergence; PPI, preplant incorporated; PRE, preemergence.