Integrated Weed Management (IWM) is a long-term management approach to manage weeds through certain management techniques. These techniques are a combination of biological, physical, chemical, mechanical and cultural practices. Overall, these help to improve crop production, revenue, and environmental condition. Before managing the weeds, we should know the definition and impact of weeds on various components like environment, economic and other parts of society.
In the case of agriculture, weeds are the unwanted plants in crop fields which grow along with the main crop. They are strong and dominating competitors for crops. Their copious seed production, quick population establishment, and adaptation characteristics make them tough competitors and help in their survival. Common examples of weeds are grass, algae, Amaranthus, Chenopodium.
Weeds compete for essential components required by crops and the demand increases as per growth. They compete for light, water, nutrients, and space. They reduce the yield and manipulate the quality of the product. Sometimes they are sources of diseases as well.
Weeding is the removal of weeds from the field. It is an effective pre-harvesting method of crop protection and crop production management. As we have seen, weeds are powerful competitors which demand water, light, nutrients, etc. from the crop. Hence, weeding has to do before harvesting as it may interfere growth and harvesting.
Weeds can be controlled in many ways. Weed management includes land preparation, water management, hand weeding, hand hoeing, crop rotation, and herbicides. Land preparation helps in the removal of seeds and uprooting of weeds before sowing of seeds of the main crop. Hand weeding is done manually which is very tiresome and time-consuming. Nowadays, weedicides and herbicides are most commonly used and are effective ways of weeding. Chemicals like MCPA, 2,4-D are some commonly used weedicides. They can be applied at three stages like before and after crop planting and after weed emergence. But these chemicals can cause health hazards and environmental issues.
Weeds are beneficial to nature but it spoils the crop. Thus, weeds need to be controlled to prevent their impact on living beings.
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