Developing an effective weed management strategy is crucial to sustainable rice production in Nigeria. Rainfed lowland ecology contributes significantly to the volume of rice cultivated in terms of yield and land acreage. Nevertheless, increased weed infestation remains one of the major production constraints. This review highlights the strength and weaknesses of weed management practices in rainfed lowland ecology and research gaps, and examines the potential for developing a sustainable weed management strategy for lowland rice. In this review, a rainfed lowland situation is described (where water is limited) to engage flooding as a potential weed control option, due to the undulating land terrains. Effective weed management begins with creating a weed-free environment at the critical crop growth stages, such that broadcasted or transplanted rice seedlings can efficiently use water, nutrients, and light. Sustainable weed management practices in Nigerian lowland ecology would therefore imply that farmers begin to incorporate crop rotation to suppress problem weeds in continuous rice cropping systems; adopt conventional or minimum tillage to enhance herbicide efficacy and early establishment of rice; adopt weed-competitive and high-yielding cultivars; and practice appropriate spacing, seeding rate, and seeding methods that can support easy adoption of mechanical weeders and optimum plant population to suppress weed pressure at a later growth stage. This is feasible where farmers are supported with infrastructure, farm machinery, and other necessary inputs. Future research should engage lowland rice farmers in specific agroecological zones.
Nomenclature: Rice; Oryza sativa L.