NCCC216: Understanding weed biology and ecology to address emerging weed management challenges

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Inactive/Terminating

NCCC216: Understanding weed biology and ecology to address emerging weed management challenges

Duration: 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2021

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Statement of Issues and Justification

Agronomic weed management across the US is facing significant challenges due to weed species that continually adapt to weed control practices. Weed species quickly adapt to imposed management and to abiotic and biotic environments through diverse genetic backgrounds that respond to constant selection pressure. Consequently, farmers across the US are now faced with controlling weed species that are resistant to several herbicide modes of action, weed species with dynamic seed dispersal both in space (geographically) and in time (seedbanks), and invasive weed spread in response to changing climates. At the same time, the likelihood of new chemical control options in the near- to mid-term are limited. Millions of dollars are spent annually to control weeds by farmers, and in recent years, the amount of time and money spent on weed control has dramatically increased as farmers address issues with herbicide-resistant weed populations.

Farmers can use many other tactics besides herbicides to manage weed populations, including mechanical, physical, biological and cultural practices, which can all complement chemical control. Integration of these practices for optimal weed management requires continued scientific exploration to increase understanding about the biology and ecology of weed species that are problematic, or are anticipated to become problematic.

In the face of these complex challenges, a regional and multi-state approach uniquely facilitates the investigation of multiple biological and ecological factors that together govern the occurrence and spread of weeds across the North Central region.

This committee has demonstrated successful communication and collaborative research activities for many years. This committee (previously NC202, NC1026, and NC1191) has studied regional differences in weed biology and ecology in agronomic situations that have provided insights into basic and applied aspects of diverse weed species that are significant within and beyond the North Central region. Primary benefits of our continued collaboration include 1) regular and focused discussions on new and impactful research on weed biology and ecology, 2) potential for developing multi-state and multi-disciplinary research proposals, 3) mentoring new investigators in our field, and 4) output of multi-state research projects and publications.


  1. Review current research on biology and ecology of emerging weed issues and coordinate future work among multi-state and multi-disciplinary partners.
  2. Identify high priorty opportunities and challenges on weed species issues in the North Central region, and develop collaborative efforts to address these issues.
  3. Continue to have regular and focused discussions on new and impactful research opportunities on weed biology and ecology.
  4. Develop educational and outreach materials, such as teaching case studies and scientific reviews and publications to address key weed biology, ecology, and management issues for our clientele in the north central region.

Procedures and Activities

The committee will meet annually at a location proposed and agreed to by the membership of the discussion committee. The meeting location will vary annually, and will be selected to provide an opportunity for committee members to view relevant weed biology and ecology research activities and issues at diverse locations across the north central region. The annual meeting would be up to 1.5 days long, with face-to-face discussion as well as opportunities to tour facilities. Prior to such an annual meeting, each member will compile and share a summary document of their current relevant research and publications from their state over the past year. In addition to this annual meeting, we will have at least quarterly “conference calls” among the members of the committee. The current Chair (or Chair-elect) would solicit topics for discussion prior to the call and facilitate the interaction. This will allow members to remain connected, to be able to address emerging issues by requesting and scheduling a conference call, and to work towards developing collaborative research proposals and/or projects. Often not all participants can travel to a face-to-face meeting, so this would ensure that we stay connected. The development of collaborative research proposal and projects will be initiated around emerging issues of majority interest, and of a broad regional priority based on conference calls and face-to-face meetings. Collaborative activities have been successfully completed by this group, and should lead to successful grant proposals, research publications, and outreach efforts for our geographical area.

To meet our specific objectives:

1) The annual meeting and quarterly conference calls will provide the venue to review current research on emerging weed issues and to coordinate future work among partners.

2) When high priority opportunities and challenges arise, a conference call can quickly bring these partners together to address the opportunity / challenge.

3) A regularly scheduled conversation allows for rapid response to new opportunities, and continue to provide focused discussion on research opportunities in weed biology and ecology.

4) Specific products will be developed as a result of these conversations at an annual meeting and with quarterly conference calls: tools for teaching and outreach to extension audiences (online and text-based publications that can be distributed in classrooms and to extension audiences), exploring software tools to guide decision making (web-based or Apps for download, such as modifications to WeedSOFT), and developing continuing education credit modules on important challenges farmers are facing.

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Exchange and discussion of current research on biology and ecology of emerging weed issues and to identify gaps in our knowledge.
  • Coordination and submission fo collaborative research proposals and/or projects.
  • Publication of joint research papers, as well as outreach materials as appropriate.
  • Mentoring of new investigators in the area of weed biology and ecology.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

Expected outcomes from this discussion group include publication of any research findings based on collaborative projects. Additionally, outreach materials may be developed based on discussion and identification of emerging issues in weed biology and ecology and need for management outcomes.

The members of this committee have a desire to improve weed management with increased information on biology and ecology of key weed species throughout the north central region. The outcomes of the research, teaching, and extension activities of these committee members are critical for guiding farmers in managing increasingly troublesome weed situations. We look forward to collaborating and developing useful tools for teaching and outreach activities, such as case studies for teaching and extension, exploring software tools to guide decision making, and focusing on upcoming challenges farmers are addressing.

One type of tool that could support teaching and outreach activities are case studies of herbicide resistant weeds that are very problematic in the north central region. The case studies could be used in classroom discussions with undergraduate students in Weed Science, in workshops as farmers learn about new herbicide-resistant species in their local area, and be available online for anyone interested in understanding that weed species. These case studies could follow a common outline, and be published in Weed Technology journal as "scholarship in education, extension, and outreach methods and resources".


The committee will nominate and elect a new Chair-elect at the designated annual meeting and they will serve in this role until next annual meeting. The Chair-elect will then serve as Chair for the following year. The responsibilities for the Chair will be to solicit from each member, a summary of their research activities over the past year to be presented at the annual meeting, and to solicit on at least a quarterly basis, issues and topics to be discussed during the upcoming conference call. These topics could revolve around upcoming proposal opportunities and relevant deadlines. As ideas emerge from interested individuals for the committee to pursue, smaller action groups can be formed to develop the research proposal and/or project, to share with the entire group, or determine individuals interested in writing and submitting a proposal and/or carrying out the project. This committee has been successful in the past with the interest and ability to collaborate on important topics. Communication technologies available can facilitate unique non-face-to-face meetings with much benefit for the committee members. We also have a range of experience to offer toward mentoring of new investigators in weed biology and ecology. Invitations from current members will be extended to potential new participants in same and other states; to participate on quarterly conference calls when possible, or to provide additional perspective on a given weed issue. One goal of this group is to build synergy among enough participants to generate valuable information and resources for farmers and researchers in the North Central region.

Literature Cited



Land Grant Participating States/Institutions


Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

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