On completing this course students will be able to:
1. Identify agriculture, horticulture, pasture and natural system weeds.
2. Understand their biology and physiological processes that make them successful weeds.
3. Make informed decisions about weed management in general and in specific agronomic, horticultural, and non-crop situations.
4. Select the user-friendly (low acute toxicity, low chronic toxicity, safe formulation and packaging, easy application method, long store stability), biologically efficient (high selectivity, fast impact, optimal residual activity, good plant tolerance, low risk of resistance), economically viable (good cost/profit ratio for farmer, broad use, applicability in IPM, innovative product characteristics, competitive), and environmentally safe (i.e. low toxicity to non-target organisms, fast degradation in the environment, low mobility in soil, low application rate) herbicides to control weeds in different circumstances.
5. Understand soil-herbicide interactions and particularly the factors affecting herbicide activity, selectivity, field persistence and fate in the environment.
6. Select the most appropriate herbicide formulations and perform the application by using modern and adequately maintained spraying equipment and by taking the necessary safety precautions.
7. Understand the mode of action of the major groups of herbicides along with their efficacy against the weeds and crop selectivity.
8. Design a weed management program for herbicide-resistant weeds.
9. Use herbicide-resistant crops for weed management.
Course Content (Syllabus)
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to weed science and particularly on weed biology, weed control practices, herbicides and the plant, herbicide and the soil, herbicide formulations and application equipment, mode of action of herbicides, weed resistance to herbicides, and herbicide resistant crops. In particular, this course includes a consideration of plant characteristics that contribute to weediness (successful weed), such as growth habit, competitive ability, allelopathic potential, reproduction, dormancy and seed germination, seed viability, and seed dispersion. A part of the course deals with practical aspects of weed management, including mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical approaches. The herbicide activity (herbicide absorption, translocation and mechanism of action) is covered along with the herbicide metabolism in plants and the herbicide selectivity. Additionally, the herbicide dissipation processes (adsorption, volatilization, leaching, removal by plants, chemical degradation, photochemical degradation and microbial decomposition), the factors affecting activity and selectivity of soil applied herbicides along with the adverse effects of herbicides on the environment are presented. Also, the herbicide formulations, the application equipment, the ground sprayer calibration and the classification of herbicide application treatments are discussed. Furthermore, the mechanism-mode of action of the major herbicide groups (herbicides-inhibiting light processes, herbicides-inhibiting cell metabolism, and herbicides-inhibiting growth/cell division) is covered, along with discussion on weed resistance to herbicides and on herbicide resistant crops. The lab courses (field practicals) aim to provide to the students great experience in weed identification, herbicide activity and selectivity, herbicide formulations and application equipment.