Edible Bean School: Weed control wisdom with Peter Sikkema

Dr. Peter Sikkema

Weeds can cause up to 58 per cent yield loss in edible beans compared to 50 per cent in corn and 35 in soybeans.

That’s just one brick in a wall of weed control insights University of Guelph weed science researcher Dr. Peter Sikkema has accumulated over a 30-year career that includes induction into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Edible Bean School, Sikkema, who plans to retire in January 2024, shares the top edible bean weed control insights he’s accumulated over his career.

In general, Sikkema says return on weed control investment varies across different crops and is dependent on everything from field selection to weed density, weed composition and the weather patterns of any given year. “But when it comes to edibles, farmers can get up to a $5 return for every $1 invested in weed management. There’s just an incredible return on investment in weed management and dry beans.”

Sikkema shares why he believes all dry bean growers should plan a two-pass weed control program that includes a soil-applied tank mix followed by a post-emergence herbicide, if required. (Story continues after the video.)

Sikkema says a lot has changed since he began researching weed control in dry beans. “When I started the assumption was that all market classes of dry beans responded similarly to herbicides,” he notes.

“Today, I think the biggest contribution we’ve made to weed management and dry beans is that farmers have to implement market class specific weed management programs,” says Sikkema. Weed control strategy and product choice really depends “on whether you have a small-seeded market class like white beans, a large-seeded market class like kidney beans, or adzuki beans, which are a completely different genus species.”

Tap here for more Edible Bean School videos.

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