Field studies were conducted in 2005 at five locations throughout Illinois to determine the effect of maturity date and canopy width characteristics of selected glyphosate-resistant soybean cultivars on competitive ability against weeds. Natural weed populations at all sites were allowed to compete with the soybean cultivars until the V1, V3, V5, or V7 growth stage and then removed with an application of glyphosate. Light-interception readings, weed control ratings, and soybean yield were all measured to compare cultivars. Cultivars of later maturities tended to withstand early season weed competition better and attained higher yields when weeds were removed at later timings than those of earlier maturity. Although canopy width differed moderately among cultivars in some cases, canopy width had no effect on the ability of soybeans to compete with weeds. Thus, choosing soybean cultivars of later maturity might provide more flexibility in weed management and might reduce losses due to weeds, but that benefit needs to be balanced with yield potential.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; metolachlor; metribuzin; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr.