The weed-seed bank - Not where you want to make withdrawals

By Dori Modney with files from the Alberta Ag-Info Centre
January 11, 2019 - 1:03pm

EDMONTON -- It's a seed bank that no farmer wants to make a withdrawal from.  However, without  proper precautions, a farmer may not have a choice. 
 
The seed-weed bank doesn't come with a locked vault.  It's located below the soil surface in every field.

Harry Brook,  crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, says the weed seed bank is a source of annual and perennial weeds that will wait for years before the right conditions come about, and then germinate to steal moisture and nutrients from crops.

Brock says beetles, crickets, rodents and birds eat many of the seeds, and keeping the soil in permanent cover increases predation on weed seeds.

A strategy that effectively reduces weed-seed banks is chaff collection in annual crops, as well as perennial forages in the crop rotation and zero tillage.
 
Herbicides are useful tools to combat weeds, notes Brook. “Don’t forget to use some of the other tools out there to minimize weed pressure in the crop. Don’t make large weed seed deposits to the soil, it is a ‘gift’ that keeps on taking.”

For more information about the weed seed bank, check out the Alberta Ag-Info Centre.

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