Weeds are more than unsightly plants in a field. They're thieves. They rob soil moisture and nutrients from the competing crop and decrease harvest efficiencies. Weeds also compete with the crop for sunlight. Because they are plants competing to survive in a limited space, weeds are actively removing nutrients from the soil to grow taller, stronger and healthier each day. By removing nutrients for their own growth and development processes, weeds are leaving crops with lower amounts of key nutrients necessary to maximize yields. Research has shown that up to 60 percent of yield is dependent on soil fertility, and weeds that rob nutrients from crops limit yield potential.
What complicates matters worse is the issue of herbicide-resistant weeds. As with any natural evolution process, weeds are becoming more resistant to popular herbicides used to control them. For instance, glyphosate-resistant weeds are growing in number, affecting nearly half of farmers surveyed in 2012. Farmers planting glyphosate-tolerant crops are changing management practices to better control resistant weeds. These practices can range from changing crop rotations to applying preemerge herbicides or herbicides of a different chemical class that are more effective on resistant weeds.
Proactively managing nutrient levels and eliminating weeds are the best ways to ensure crops have the nutrition they need for the entire growing season.