Abstract: Field experiments were conducted in 1996, 1997, and 1998 at Lacombe and Lethbridge, AB, to determine the influence of early weed competition on field pea yields. Wild oat and Tartary buckwheat were removed from plots at weekly intervals after pea emergence by hand-weeding and maintained weed-free for the remainder of the growing season. Tartary buckwheat produced slightly more biomass than wild oat at Lacombe, whereas wild oat produced much more biomass than Tartary buckwheat at Lethbridge. Weed-free pea yields at Lacombe were always two- to threefold higher than at Lethbridge. At Lethbridge, early competition with Tartary buckwheat in all years, and with wild oat in 1998, did not reduce pea yields. In 1996 and 1997 at Lethbridge, pea yield reductions due to wild oat began at 2 wk after pea emergence; for the next 2 wk yield loss was linear, decreasing at an average rate of 97 kg/ha per day. Early weed competition led to pea yield losses at Lacombe in all 3 yr. The onset of yield loss at Lacombe over the 3-yr period ranged from 1 to 2 wk after pea emergence; for the next 2 to 3 wk yield loss was linear, decreasing at an average rate of 45 kg/ha per day. Yield losses after full-season weed competition ranged from 40 to 70% at both sites. Usually, the beginning of the critical weed-free period was at 1 or 2 wk after pea emergence. Optimum pea yields usually required weed removal very early in the pea life cycle; weed removal beyond 2 wk after pea emergence often protected only suboptimal yields.
Nomenclature: Wild oat, Avena fatua L. #3 AVEFA; Tartary buckwheat, Fagopyrum tataricum (L.) J. Gaertn.; pea, Pisum sativum L. Carrera.
Additional index words: Critical weed-free period, crop-weed interference, duration of competition, AVEFA.
Abbreviations: POST, postemergence; PPI, preplant incorporated; PRE, preemergence.