Herbicides are available that can help control weeds during the production of sesame. Control of weeds is the most important part of sesame production. There are millions of non-mechanized and hundreds of thousands of mechanized hectares of sesame grown every year with good economic return and minimum loss to weeds. However, improved weed control systems will contribute to increased net returns of the crop. The strategy that is being considered is to use a preemergence herbicide that has residual control and will provide effective soil residual control for approximately 4 to 6 weeks followed by a postemergence herbicide that will control small weeds and possibly provide residual control of weeds that have not germinated.
In all of the testing, there are few herbicides that do not affect sesame under some conditions; however, it is clear that in weedy conditions, sesame cannot produce economical yields. Therefore, some damage must be acceptable and with this minimal damage to the sesame, many herbicides have produced excellent economic yields. In the 1920s, Iowa farmers used to say that they plant 3 kernels of corn, "One for the worm, one for the crow, and one for me." Perhaps, in this century sesame farmers will need to plant extra sesame seed, "Some for the herbicide, and most for me."
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