Help your crops win the war against weeds by increasing their competitiveness against them.
We don’t want to give the weeds a free kick by growing un-competitive crops. Crop competition with weeds is a double-edged sword. There is the effect of the weeds on the crop, and the effect of the crop on the weeds. A competitive crop will suffer less yield loss at the hands of the weeds, and will also reduce seed set of the weeds compared to an un-competitive crop. In other words more crop, fewer weeds.
There are six main aspects of crop competition:
- Higher seeding rate
- Narrow row spacing
- Orientation of crop – a crop sown east – west will give your crop enough sunlight, and shade the furrows to starve weeds of sunlight
- Vigorous crop traits
- Soil health – give your crop the best chance by having healthy soil
- Time of sowing – early sowing is usually best
It’s hard to get all of the six points above right, and growers need not aspire to practising all six of these competition factors, but they can use a range of these practices to ensure that their crops have a fighting chance against the weeds.
You can learn more about crop competition in our Diversity Era course, Crop Competition 101.