Non-chemical Weed Control Methods Fail to Control Weeds in Organic Peanut Trials

Extensive research has been undertaken in Georgia to determine the effectiveness of non-chemical weed control methods for organic production systems. None of the systems has proven effective, meaning that hundreds of hours of hand weeding are necessary to make these peanut fields viable.

“The inability to sustain a reliable domestic supply of organic peanut is partially due to difficult and costly weed control. … The initial attempt to develop weed management systems using propane flaming and [Organic Materials Research Institute] OMRI herbicides in organic peanut was a weed control failure. Propane flaming and OMRI herbicides did not control annual grasses and perennial nutsedges, and provided only short-term control of dicot weeds.”

“A factor that limits successful in-row weed control using cultivation is inconsistent performance. … The lack of consistency using cultivation as the primary means of weed control in organic peanut appears to be a major unresolved challenge. Even when cultivator implements are properly adjusted and operated in a timely manner, in-row weeds can escape control. …hand weeding cannot be completely replaced by intensive in-row cultivation. … This is also shown by the time and cost of hand weeding to control escapes, particularly the brush-hoe cultivator at VE/1 wk in 2009 needing 116 hours/ha to remove escapes at a cost of $1,021/ha.”

Authors: W.C. Johnson1, M.A. Boudreau2 and J.W. Davis2
Affiliation: 1USDA-ARS, 2University of Georgia
Title: Implements and cultivation frequency to improve in-row weed control in organic peanut production.
Publication: Weed Technology. 2012. 26(2):334-340.

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