Substitution of benign inputs

The input substitution approach can involve replacement of conventional herbicides with new synthetic materials (Zoschke, 1994) or microbial products (see Chapter 8) that have shorter residual periods, less mobility, and lower toxicity to humans and other nontarget organisms. Input substitution can also involve partial or complete replacement of herbicides with mechani-

cal controls; a common method is the combination of cultivation between crop rows with herbicide application in narrow bands over crop rows (Buhler, Gunsolus & Ralston, 1992; Eadie et al., 1992; Mt. Pleasant, Burt & Frisch, 1994). By reducing reliance on more toxic materials, the input substitution approach can reduce environmental and health hazards. It can also, in the case of herbicide banding, decrease production costs and increase returns (Mulder & Doll, 1993). To be used most effectively and reliably, the input substitution approach requires monitoring weed populations and their responses to management tactics. Like the improved efficiency approach, it is responsive rather than proactive, and tends to maintain a farmer's dependence on externally derived curative solutions and inputs (MacRae et al., 1990).

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