Seed retention of winter annual grass weeds at winter wheat harvest maturity shows potential for harvest weed seed control

Neeta Soni, Scott J. Nissen, Philip Westra, Jason K. Norsworthy, Michael Walsh, Todd A. Gaines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Downy brome, feral rye, and jointed goatgrass are problematic winter annual grasses in central Great Plains winter wheat production. Integrated control strategies are needed to manage winter annual grasses and reduce selection pressure exerted on these weed populations by the limited herbicide options currently available. Harvest weed-seed control (HWSC) methods aim to remove or destroy weed seeds, thereby reducing seed-bank enrichment at crop harvest. An added advantage is the potential to reduce herbicide-resistant weed seeds that are more likely to be present at harvest, thereby providing a nonchemical resistance-management strategy. Our objective was to assess the potential for HWSC of winter annual grass weeds in winter wheat by measuring seed retention at harvest and destruction percentage in an impact mill. During 2015 and 2016, 40 wheat fields in eastern Colorado were sampled. Seed retention was quantified and compared per weed species by counting seed retained above the harvested fraction of the wheat upper canopy (15 cm and above), seed retained below 15 cm, and shattered seed on the soil surface at wheat harvest. A stand-mounted impact mill device was used to determine the percent seed destruction of grass weed species in processed wheat chaff. Averaged across both years, seed retention (+/- SE) was 75% +/- 2.9%, 90% +/- 1.7%, and 76% +/- 4.3% for downy brome, feral rye, and jointed goatgrass, respectively. Seed retention was most variable for downy brome, because 59% of the samples had at least 75% seed retention, whereas the proportions for feral rye and jointed goatgrass samples with at least 75% seed retention were 93% and 70%, respectively. Weed seed destruction percentages were at least 98% for all three species. These results suggest HWSC could be implemented as an integrated strategy for winter annual grass management in central Great Plains winter wheat cropping systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalWeed Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


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