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Weed Control

Weed control is an important aspect in forage and cattle production as it affects forage yield and quality. Weed management can be accomplished through cultural, mechanical, chemical and biological controls. A more effective and sustainable weed management program should integrate two or more of these methods and consider long-term impacts. Over 95% of the weed control in a healthy forage crop comes from the competition provided by the existing forage stand.

Weeds on farmed landWeeds in perennial Alberta crops

In 2009, a survey that focused on weeds was conducted of common irrigated crops including annual cereals (spring wheat, barley, corn), annual broad-leaved crops (canola, sugar beets, dry beans, potatoes) and perennial crops (alfalfa, grass hay) in Alberta. For the 135 fields of irrigated perennial crops, the top 10 most abundant weeds were reported as: Dandelion, Canada thistle, Lamb’s-quarters, Kochia, Green foxtail, Wild buckwheat, Redroot pigweed, Foxtail barley, Smooth brome, and Quack grass.

Weeds on pasture

Other than plants that are poisonous to livestock, individual plants growing on a pasture are rarely a problem. However when large populations of a single species spread over a wide area, choking out and replacing the pasture grasses that provide nutrition to livestock, weeds become an economic issue.1

If weeds become a problem, they can compete or interfere for light, nutrients, water and space, directly influencing forage yield. A study by Chad and Bork (2004)2 assessed…

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