Summary of Stacked Cultivation Trials in New York
Bryan Brown PhD, NYS IPM
Using several different cultivation implements at once, or “stacking” tools, can improve weed control effectiveness. From my work at the University of Maine, Eric Gallandt and I showed that certain cultivation tools work synergistically together, particularly those combinations that undercut, then uproot, then bury weeds. Unfortunately crop damage was high in the trial results from Maine. So in New York, I made some adjustments to be gentler on the crop – wider spacing between tools, removed center tines on the row harrow, and tested a new hiller to bury weeds without contacting the crop (Figure 1). And GPS guidance was a big improvement too!
Figure 1. Cultivation implements used in these trials. A) Sweeps, B) finger weeders (yellow) and row harrow (blue), and C) a disk hiller. For full explanation of implement adjustments and trial methods, see the project report at Improving mechanical in-row weed control for vegetables and row crops
Figure 2. Results of cultivation trials in snap beans. This was the first cultivation event following planting and tillage. At cultivation, snap beans were 6” tall, while weeds were 0.5” tall in 2018 and 1” tall in 2019.
Figure 3. Results of cultivation trials in beets. First cultivation occurred at either the 2-leaf stage or about one week later at the 4-leaf stage. 2019 beets trials were planted in the spring, whereas 2018 beets were planted late-summer, with lower-growing winter annual weeds present.
Overall, the adjustments made in these trials greatly reduced crop damage while weed control remained high. I was most impressed with the stacked combo of sweeps plus fingers plus disk hillers, which consistently controlled the greatest percentage of weeds. These results also demonstrate that in-row cultivation should not be conducted prior to the 4-leaf stage in beets. For more information on integrated weed management, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. This work was project supported by the USDA NIFA CPPM [grant 2017-70006-27142/project accession 1014000]