Multi-year validation of a decision aid for integrated weed management in row crops

Frank Forcella, Robert P. King, Scott M. Swinton, Douglas D. Buhler, Jeffrey L. Gunsolus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


WEEDSIM is a bioeconomic decision aid for management of annual weeds in corn and soybean. It was field-tested for 4 yr in Minnesota. The decision aid has two categories of management recommendations: soil-applied plus postemergence (PRE+), based on estimated weed seedbank composition and density; and postemergence (POST), based upon observed weed seedling composition and density. Weed densities, weed control, herbicide use, environmental impact of herbicide use, weed management costs, crop yields, and economic returns that resulted from PRE+ and POST recommendations were compared to those associated with herbicide management systems (HERB) that were standard for the region. After 4 yr of applying WEEDSIM recommendations to the same plots, there were no increases in annual weed densities (seedbanks, seedlings, established plants, or seed production) or decreases in weed control or crop (soybean, rotation corn, and continuous corn) yields, compared to HERB. WEEDSIM recommendations resulted in average annual herbicide applications of 1.1 kg ai ha-1 for PRE+ and 1.0 kg ai ha-1 for POST, compared to 3.5 kg ai ha-1 for HERB. Environmental impact indices associated with PRE+, POST, and HERB were 0.75, 0.71, and 0.54, with the lowest value indicating greater environmental risk than the two higher values. Similarly, average weed management costs were $24, $33, and $77 ha- 1 for PRE+, POST, and HERB, respectively. Based on crop prices of $94 Mg-1 for corn and $220 Mg-1 for soybean, the average gross margins over weed control costs were higher for PRE+ ($509 ha-1) and POST ($522 ha-1) than for HERB ($455 ha-1). In general, WEEDSIM appeared to make management recommendations that adequately controlled weeds, maintained crop yields, reduced herbicide use, decreased environmental risk, lowered weed management costs, and increased gross margins over weed control costs compared to the use of herbicides standard for the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-661
Number of pages12
JournalWeed Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Bioeconomic modeling
  • expert system
  • sustainable agriculture
  • weed seed production
  • weed seedbank


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