Alternate weed management strategies in dryland cropping systems.
An experiment was conducted during 1994-98 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India to identify alternative weed management strategies in dryland cropping systems. A non-chemical approach, soil solarization, was compared with that of traditional practice of summer tillage and their combination. The weeds in the experimental site included Celosia argentea, Commelina benghalensis and Tridax procumbens. The combination of summer tillage and solarization increased initial weed population as the tillage pushed the weed seeds to the topsoil depths and get killed after they germinate. Weed management in this method was slow but effective. Solarization alone killed the germinated weed seeds on the topsoil, irrespective of weed seed reserves. Therefore, for efficient weed control, only solarization needs to be practiced for at least three years in a specific location/plot. The yields of the test crop (sunflower) were dependent both on the pre- and post-sowing weed management practices.