Harvest weed seed control is an alternative non-chemical approach to weed management that targets escaped weed seeds at the time of crop harvest. Relatively little is known on how these methods will work on species in the US. Two of the most prominent weeds in soybean production in the midsouthern US are Palmer amaranth and barnyardgrass. Typically, when crop harvesting occurs the weed seed has already either shattered or is taken into the combine and may be redistributed in the soil seedbank. This causes further weed seed spread and may contribute to the addition of resistant seeds in the seedbank. There is little research on how much seed is retained on different weed species at or beyond harvest time. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the percentage of total Palmer amaranth and barnyardgrass seed production that was retained on the plant during delayed soybean harvest. Retained seed over time was similar between 2015 and 2016, but was significantly different between years for only Palmer amaranth. Seed retention did not differ between years for either weed species. Palmer amaranth and barnyardgrass retained 98 and 41% of their seed at soybean maturity and 95 and 32% of their seed one month after soybean maturity, respectively. Thus, this research indicates that if there are escaped Palmer amaranth plants and soybean is harvested in a timely manner, most seed will enter the combine and offer potential for capture or destruction of these seeds using harvest weed seed control tactics. While there would be some benefit to using HWSC for barnyardgrass, the utility of this practice on mitigating herbicide resistance would be less pronounced than that of Palmer amaranth because of the reduced seed retention or early seed shatter.
Nomenclature: Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv.; Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri (S.) Wats.; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr.