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Advances in Weed Management

Weeds are certainly as old as agriculture and from the very beginning; farmers realized the presence of those unsown species interfered with the growth of the crop they were intending to produce. Weeds are unwanted and undesirable plants which interfere with the utilization of land and water resources and thus affect human welfare. These plants have the ability to persist and spread through multiple reproduction and dispersal of dormant seeds or vegetative propagules. Leaving weeds unchecked will sooner or later lead to considerable reduction in crop yield. Therefore competition between the undesired plants and the crop has to be avoided for achieving better crop productivity. Effective weed management is critical to maintain agricultural productivity.

Efficient use of herbicides: Increased interest in organic agriculture calls for alternative solutions for weed management. As a result, number of directions has evolved of which a more efficient use of herbicide is a first track. This strategy can be implemented through the use of micro herbicides, different herbicide combinations, improvements in the application technology like types of nozzles, spray volume, diameter and use of factor adjusted dosages, use of surfactants or adjuvants and go for herbigation.

Compatible herbicide combinations control the weeds in a single pass. Besides that, it also reduces the occurrence of herbicide resistant biotypes in weeds by using single herbicide. In ready mix formulations, the different herbicides are mixed in desired concentration to avoid any phytotoxicity to crop. Through the use of micro herbicides, we can reduce the dose of chemicals applied on per ha to micro levels. Adding surfactants and adjuvants facilitates to improve spreading, wetting, dispersing and other surface modifying properties which enhance the action of active ingredient. Herbigation is the effective method of applying herbicides through irrigation systems. Success of good herbigation programmes depends upon good management, uniform water applications and knowledge of the movement of herbicides in the soil.

Laser technology: A laser beam directed towards weeds can be an efficient weed control method as an alternative to herbicides. Lasers deliver high-density energy to selected plant material, raising the temperature of the water in the plant cells and thereby stop or delay the growth. A commercial use of lasers for weed control, however, require a systematic investigation of relationship between energy density and the biological effect on different weed species, growth stages, etc.

Allelopathy: The effect of allelochemicals on the growth of plants may occur through various mechanisms like reduced mitotic activity, suppress hormone activity, reduced rate of nutrient uptake, inhibit photosynthesis, respiration, inhibit protein formation, reduction in permeability of cell membrane and enzyme action. The use of allelopathically active crops against weeds can be utilized in different ways: surface mulch, incorporation into soil, crop rotation, cover crops, intercropping, water extracts as natural herbicides and incorporating an allelopathic character into a desired crop variety.

Biological control: A biological weed control regiment can consist of biological control agents, bio herbicides, use of grazing animals, and protection of natural predators. It is an effective, environmentally safe method of weed management. Now-a-days, instead of direct release of bio agents, augmentation technique is used. Augmentation refers to the action taken to increase the population of beneficial natural enemies to bring about effective suppression of pest population mostly by release of biocontrol agents in the areas of less abundance or where population build-up of the biological control agent occurs too late to cause appreciable damage to the target pest. Several anomalies are present for the establishment of biological control agent in a new site compared to its original habitat. So, augmented release is required to ensure the early establishment of biocontrol agents.

Weeds as bio fluids: Liquid fuels made from biomass for energy purposes. This has a high energy density. This is helpful to reduce dependency on nano fluids. Adding product value to the invasive weeds may prove to be an effective way for weed management. So many weeds have the potentiality of being used as bio fluid. Thermal conduction nature of these weed based bio fluids are comparable with presently used nano fluids.

RNA interference technology: Itís a way to destroy specific RNA messages so that a particular protein is not made. It is an elegant way of targeting particular genes and turning those genes off. It involves the topical application of a mixture of glyphosate and double-stranded RNA to interfere with the expression of herbicide resistance genes in weeds.

Nanotechnology: Nanotechnologies are the design, characterization, production and application of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at nanometer scale. Molecular characterization of underground plant parts for a new target domain and developing a receptor based herbicide molecule having specific binding property with nanoherbicide molecules like carbon nanotubes capable of killing the viable and dormant underground propagules of weed seeds. In addition, nano-encapsulation allows for the gradual release of herbicide, which can provide improved levels of crop safety over other formulations.

Weed control using robotic technology is also gaining importance today over worldwide. This includes weed mapping, robotic suit, weed twister, robotized patch sprayer, co robotic intra robotic systems etc.


Eventhough, there are so many advances had undertaken in the field of weed management, the importance of these methods lies in its usability in farmerís field. The advances in weed management includes efficient use of herbicides, laser technology, use of bioherbicides, use of herbicide resistant crops, robotics, nano technology, used as heat transfer biofluids and allelopathy. Out of these methods, the most adaptable method is efficient use of herbicides. This can be easily practiced by the farmers in the field when compared to other methods and it gives better yield and economic returns. Biological methods are useful for maintaining good soil health and also environmental quality. Other approaches are need based or demand driven in nature.


HALLEY, C. O., RENATA, S. M., CLAUDIA, B. R. M., RENATO, G., MARCELO, B. D. J. AND LEONARDO, F.F., 2015. Nanoencapsulation enhances the post emergence herbicidal activity of atrazine against mustard plants. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0132971.

MATHIASSEN, S. K., THOMAS, B., CHRISTENSEN, S. AND KUDSK, P., 2006. The effect of laser treatment as a weed control method. Biosys. Eng., 95(4):497-505.

MEHER, W., RASHMI, P., NEERAJ, K., YADAV, R. R., RAJIV, P., JANE, C. N. AND VYOM, P., 2015, Heat transfer biofluids: A novel approach towards weed management. Ecol. Engi.,84:492Ė495.

SUSHILKUMAR AND PUJA, R., 2011, Evaluation of augmentative release of Zygogramma bicolorata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) for biological control of Parthenium hysterophorus L. Crop Protection 30: 587-591.

Writer :: Jeena Mary      Published on :: 09-May-2020

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