Weed management in cropping systems in the Texas Southern High Plains
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The Southern High Plains of Texas is a semi-arid region that receives an annual precipitation of less than 20 inches.Supplemental irrigation allows this region to produce a variety of agronomic and horticultural crops, although the current use of supplemental irrigation seems to point to less in-season water after the crops are established. Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is the major crop grown in this region, with 3.75 million acres planted and 2.44 million bales harvested in 2013 (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Ag_Statistics/2013/). Other important cash crops grown in rotation with cotton include wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.), and corn (Zea mays L.). Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) and guar (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus L.) may be planted on more acres as water efficient crops are in more demand and are effective alternatives in a cotton rotation system. Water is the key limiting factor in crop production and dryland (rainfed) production is dependent on the timeliness and amount of rainfall. In areas where cotton has been established and maintained, record cotton yields have been recorded in part due to crop genetics and improved crop protection options. A key limiting factor to crop production is weeds. At least 12 billion dollars annually are lost due to weeds growing with crops in the United States (Holt and Orcutt 1991). Producers spend approximately 3.6 billion dollars on chemical weed control and approximately 2.6 billion dollars on cultural, ecological, and biological methods of weed control (Tsaftaris 1996).