Weed Management Handbook 9th edition by Robert E.L. Naylor

Bibliographic Information:
Title: Weed Management Handbook
Editor: Robert E.L. Naylor
Edition: 9th, Illustrated
Publisher: Blackwell Science Now (Wiley)
Length: 434 pages
Size: 23.9 MB
Language: English

The first edition of the Weed Control Handbook appeared in 1958 and the eighth
edition in 1990. Weed control has changed since the last edition. New ideas,
information and understanding have been incorporated into weed management
systems. More importantly, new weed management challenges are presenting
themselves and need to be addressed.
In previous editions the subject has been divided into two areas and the
Handbook was issued in two volumes: Principles and Practice. For this edition it
has been decided to merge the two areas into one volume. This more effectively
demonstrates the linkage of knowledge and information with weed management
practice. As we have learnt more, so we have evolved our weed management
systems to be both more effective and at the same time less harmful to the
The change in title from Weed Control Handbook to Weed Management
Handbook is a deliberate one. The emphasis in cropping systems is now much
less on production. Agricultural policy at EU, UK and regional scales now pays
far more attention to producing food in a sustainable and ethical manner.
Agenda 2000, the main agricultural policy instrument of the EU, makes the
environment more central to agricultural policy. The policy states '. . . The integration
of environmental goals into the CAP and the development of the role
farmers can and should play in terms of management of natural resources and
landscape conservation are increasingly important objectives for the CAP . . .'.
Clearly, the objectives of arable cropping are influenced by this and indeed the
role of farmers is changing to one of countryside managers. The former UK
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF; now the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA) has evaluated the effects of the
revised agreement on Agenda 2000 made at the Berlin Heads of Government
meeting in March 1999. MAFF estimated that the UK arable sector would lose
El80 million. Relative to other countries in the EU, the package was estimated
to make wheat more profitable in the UK, but protein crops and oil crops less
Clearly, this influences which crops are grown and also signals that the central
feature of cropping systems will be to drive down costs of production.
Growers can achieve this through the use of both biotechnology and non-biotechnology.
On the non-biotechnology front, the focus is to achieve greater
efficiency of utilisation of resources. Knowledge and information technology
have a role in providing better decision making while engineering solutions
can achieve greater efficiency through, for example, more accurate and localised
placement of fertilisers and agrochemicals. On the biotechnology front,
the attractiveness of many of the new cultivars (conventional or genetically modified) that are becoming available is that they lead to easier and cheaper
crop protection.
At the same time, the regulation of activity on farms is increasing. The
requirement of society is that growers achieve production in an environmentally
benign way. Thus, crop production is a challenging activity. Increasingly, the
decisions made in managing crops have an important financial consequence but
the options are constrained. This is particularly so in the field of crop protection,
where a high proportion of compounds will cease to be registered and will
therefore not be available for use.
This book comprises a series of chapters written by experts in their field, in a
sequence that reflects a progression from the biology of weeds, through the
underpinning science and technology relating to herbicides, to principles of weed
management techniques and finally a set of ‘case studies’, describing the main
options available. There is more emphasis than in previous Handbooks on
techniques to reduce the application of herbicides through the incorporation of
mechanical and biological methods of weed management into what can be
termed ‘integrated weed management’.
Weed scientists and technologists interact greatly with each other and all
have a clear focus on the question of how we limit weed populations in
crop fields (and elsewhere). The authors in this book have illustrated the
links between the various disciplines and subject areas that contribute to
‘weed management’. Inevitably, this means that there is a degree of overlap
and cross-reference between the chapters. As editor, I have not tried to limit
this overlap because the links are important; weed management decisions
must be based on as complete a knowledge and information set as possible
if the decisions are to be sound and effective. Occasionally readers will
notice differences of interpretation between authors. Again, I have not tried
to impose a uniform view, as the open discussion of such issues is healthy
for the subject because it exposes our ignorance and identifies where we
need further research or development.
Weed management does not stand still and it is not the same as it was ten years
ago. Nor will it be the same in ten years’ time when new weed problems will have
arisen in response to changes in cropping systems. Different management systems
will be developed to deal with these. The new management systems will have to
conform to the demand of society for solutions which are at least environmentally
benign or, better, lead to enhancement of the countryside for all to enjoy. At
the same time the new solutions have to be cost-effective in a tighter financial
I thank all the contributors for the time and effort they have devoted to writing
their chapters. Without them, there would be no Handbook! I also thank BCPC
for their foresight in producing a new edition and their trust in asking me to edit
it. The weed science community is small but active and I am sure an updated
version will be needed in another ten years to take account of the new knowledge
about weeds and the fresh technology that can be brought to bear on managing
weeds. The poet Gerald Manley Hopkins said ‘Long live the weeds.. .’ (Inversnaid).
We need to add ‘long live the weed scientists’!

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