Strategies for weed control in maize in water sensitive areas.
Since 2014, the Crop Protection Service Niedersachsen has carried out joint experiments on weed control with special consideration of water protection aspects. The focus of the investigations was the handling of herbicidal active substances whose metabolites were increasingly found in groundwater quality measurement networks in Lower Saxony (chloroacetamides, especially S-metolachlor). It was found that s-metolachlor has equivalent soil active ingredients. Nonetheless, the question is being discussed whether a targeted active ingredient management (rotation) can reduce the risk of discharge for the active ingredient. The aim is to obtain the widest possible range of active ingredients with soil herbicides in maize cultivation, thereby preventing the formation of resistance on the one hand, and counteracting an overuse of remaining active ingredients on the other hand. The latter could then also lead to a stronger groundwater hazard. An additional experimental project in 2017 provided insights into the effectiveness and practicability of mechanical and combined weed control methods. It showed that purely mechanical measures are associated with a high risk of yield losses, especially if the weed competition in the corn line cannot be sufficiently eliminated. Greater efficacy at lower cost was achieved through the combination of broad leafy herbicide presentation and subsequent hacking. Possible strategies for weed control, especially in water conservation areas, are discussed.