Mexican sunflower management in arable crops is becoming increasingly important due to its prevalent growth habit. The field experiments were conducted to compare weed suppressive abilities of two cover crops and two maize herbicides on Mexican sunflower. The treatments consist of the pre-emergence application of Primextra Gold (atrazine + metolachlor) at 4 l/ha, a post-emergence application of Aminoforce (2, 4-D) at 1.6 l/ha, two cover crops, Centrosema pubescens (Centro) at 2.5 kg/ha and Pueraria phaseoloides (Puero) at 2.0 kg/ha, hand weeding at 2 and 5 weeks after sowing (WAS) and no weeding. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design with four replications. Pre-emergence herbicide produced taller plants at 8 and 12 WAS and higher number of leaves at 12 WAS. Despite two hand weedings (at 2 and 5 WAS), the weed biomass of hand weeding treatment was not different from no weeding. Higher weed densities produced by hand weeding and no weeding at 12 WAS indicated that the two herbicides and the two cover crop treatments gave better weed control than both weed checks. Weed control was 4, 7 and 8 times better in pre-emergence, post-emergence and Centro; respectively, than no weeding at 8 WAS. Although Centro provided long term weed control, the herbicides were able to provide early protection for the maize plants. The highest maize yield of 2.21 t/ha obtained from Primextra Gold (atrazine + metolachlor) at 4l/ha was significantly higher than yields from the other treatments. Yield reduction of 24.5, 27.7, 34.4, 40.8 and 94.2% was obtained in 1.6 l/ha Aminoforce, Centro, hand weeding, Puero and no weeding, respectively, when compared to maize yield from Primextra Gold.
Key words: Mexican sunflower, cover crops, herbicides, hand weeding, weed control.
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