New tactics help chile pepper farmers combat costly weeds
Weeds cause billions of dollars in crop loss each year and can be difficult to control. In some crops, such as chile peppers in New Mexico, hand weeding is common and drastically increases the cost of weed management, cutting into growers’ profits.
Depleting the “weed seedbank” of viable plant seeds that remain in the soil improves the effectiveness of other weed management practices and greatly reduces weed pressure, helping to lower production costs. New Mexico researchers are developing practical tactics for depleting weed seedbanks and have developed educational cost-benefit models to promote adoption of these tactics, which have the potential to save New Mexico chile growers up to $300 per acre in weeding costs each year.
These savings make chile farms economically sustainable, and savings could be passed on to consumers as lower prices.