Background

The foundation of WeedSOFT® was an interactive, bioeconomic model for soybean known as HERB, which was released in North Carolina in 1989 (Mortensen and Coble 1991; Wilkerson et al. 1991). This DOS application had been developed to estimate crop yield loss from multi-species weed complexes, to evaluate the net return on the use of postemergence herbicides, and to select the economically optimal control strategy. HERB was modified and adapted for field conditions in Nebraska, and first released for postemergence weed control in soybean as NebraskaHERB in 1992 (Mortensen et al. 1992). Over the next four years, NebraskaHERB was expanded to include POST and PRE weed control treatments for five crops: corn , sorghum, sugarbeet and winter wheat. The new program was named WeedSOFT® and was released in 1996. Since its release, WeedSOFT® has been updated each year to reflect changes in herbicide prices and labels, as well as to correct program errors that have been brought to the attention of the development team.

A regional implementation effort of the WeedSOFT® program was funded by CSREES-USDA (IPM Implementation in a Corn/Soybean/Cotton/Wheat System Project 98-COOP-2-6948). One of the objectives of this project is to develop a computerized decision aid for post-emergence weed control in cotton, soybeans, corn and wheat. In addition, it also provides funding for wide-scale on-farm field validation and demonstration trials in each participating state and develop mechanisms for model distribution, model updating, and training of scouts and decision makers so that project becomes self-sustaining.

This project was funded through 2001 and included participation of the following states:North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Three additional years of funding from the USDA RAMP program (award #2001-51101-11100)was obtained in October 2001. This project will move WeedSOFT® from the experimental verification stage to widespread implementation of the DSS in the North Central states. In addition to continuing maintenance, upgrades, and customer support, we will endeavor to develop a spatial component for WeedSOFT® that will enhance its usefulness as a site-specific weed management tool. This component will utilize existing SSURGO soil data and digital imagery to tailor a weed management solution specific for your field. This will also allow the potential for field maps of weed populations to enhance your weed management decisions now and in the future.