Economic and Horticultural Evaluation of Chemical and Mechanical Weed Control Strategies for Cowpea

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

The herbicides paraquat, trifluralin, and metolachlor were compared for efficacy of weed control in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] with and without cultivation as a supplemental strategy. Herbicides also were compared against a no cultivation-no herbicide treatment (control) and against cultivation without an herbicide. Cultivation had no significant effect on seed yield, biological yield, or harvest index of cowpea. Paraquat, applied before seeding but after emergence of weeds, was ineffective for weed control and usually did not change cowpea yield from that obtained without an herbicide. Trifluralin and metolachlor more than tripled cowpea seed yield compared with that obtained without an herbicide in 1988, when potential weed pressure was 886 g·m-2 (dry weight). The main effects of trifluralin and metolachlor were not significant for cowpea seed yield in 1989, when potential weed pressure was 319 g·m-2 (dry weight). However, in 1989, these two herbicides still increased cowpea seed yield compared with that of the control and increased net farm income by more than $300/ha compared with the income obtained from the control. Chemical names used 1,1'-dimethyl-4,4' -bipyridlnium salts (paraquat); 2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipropyl-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzenamine (trifluralin); 2-chloro-N-(2-ethyl-6 -methylphenyl)-N-(2-methoxy-l-methylethyl) acetamide (metolachlor).

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