Volume 2 (2009) - Letter From The Editors

We are pleased to present the second issue of the new publication "Prairie Soils and Crops: Scientific Perspectives for Innovative Management". The theme of this issue is "Weeds, Herbicides and Management".

We have enlisted authors with extensive knowledge and expertise to review important Prairie weed and Prairie weed management topics. Because the most common and successful weed management methods involve herbicides, most of the articles include herbicide-related topics. The first article reviews the history of herbicide use on the Prairies, while the second article discusses global herbicide development opportunities and constraints. There are also articles on weed resistance to herbicides, herbicide application technology, and on what Prairie-wide weed surveys have taught us about how our current management practices influence weed populations. Two articles focus on weed seed biology and biological weed control. The final article suggests techniques for combining knowledge and technology for weed management in integrated cropping systems.

The organizers of the first Canadian weed control conference (Edmonton, 1929) were optimistic that weeds could be destroyed. The meeting was entitled: "Conference on the Destruction of Weeds by Means of Chemicals." They were excited about how well chemicals like sulphuric acid worked on weeds such as wild mustard. Eighty year later, we have adopted more safe and reliable chemicals, but we have still not eradicated a single weed species. Indeed, our over-use of some herbicides has made some weed populations totally resistant to those herbicides. The chair of the 1929 meeting provided some amazing insight, most of which is still relevant today. He said: "The destruction of weeds by chemicals must of course be supplementary to crop rotation, summer fallowing and other control methods, which will always have a prominent place." We are now confirming that crop rotation and other weed control methods should have more of a place in 21st century agriculture. Building integrated cropping systems that emphasize diversity and crop health, increases herbicide success, reduces the buildup of herbicide-resistant weeds and reduces our reliance on herbicide tools that cannot be used indefinitely on the same weed populations.

We hope you will enjoy this "weedy" issue. We are working on the third issue to be published in February, 2010; the theme of which will be "Agricultural Soils of the Prairies". We encourage you to E-Mail us your comments about the topics published to date and provide us with ideas and themes for future issues.

Editors: Guy P. Lafond1 and K. Neil Harker2

1Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Indian Head Research Farm
Indian Head, SK

2Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Lacombe Research Center
Lacombe, AB
Email: neil.harker@agr.gc.ca