Weeds are considered as one of the major factors responsible for current low wheat yield in Bangladesh. Although chemical weed control is well established in many wheat growing countries, in Bangladesh, the herbicides are typically not used by farmers to manage weeds in wheat. Hence, to evaluate the efficacy of pre- and post-emergence herbicides in mechanized drilled sown wheat, a two-year field study was conducted in southwest Bangladesh. The study evaluated the performance of four pre-emergence herbicides (oxadiargyl 80g, pendimethalin 850 g, pyrazosulfuron 15 g, and mefenacet + bensulfuran methyl 550 g a.i. ha-1) applied at 2 days after sowing (DAS) and four post-emergence herbicides (2,4-D 1400 g, ethoxysulfuron18 g, penoxsulam22.5 g, and fenoxaprop 56 g a.i. ha-1) applied at 20 DAS, on weed control efficacy. A season long weed-free and a season long weedy plots were also maintained to compare the results. The weed control option using a single pre- or post-emergence herbicide was not adequate to control weed effectively when weed infestation was relatively higher. The best yield provided by pre-emergence (pendimethalin and oxadiargyl) and post-emergence (2,4-D and ethoxysulfuron) herbicide treatments were respectively 13-15% and 12-17% lower than the yield (4.1-4.2 t ha-1) of weed-free treatment. Post-emergence herbicides fenoxaprop was the best in controlling weeds; however, due to phytotoxic effects on wheat plants, the plots applied with fenoxaprop produced very low yield (2.6-2.8 t ha-1). Similarly, even after good weed control by the post-emergence application of penoxsulam, phytotoxicity on wheat resulting in low yield. The study suggested that the best weed control option for wheat is to use a pre-emergence (pendimethalin or oxadiargyl) followed by (fb) a post-emergence (2,4-D or ethoxysulfuron) herbicides depending upon weed species which would benefit the farmers by providing high weed control efficacy at lower cost compared to manual weeding.
Weed shift;weed control efficiency;pre-emergence;post-emergence;herbicide toxicity;conservation agriculture;yield gap