We used the mental models research method to generate a conceptual map of how Midwest farmers use knowledge, experience, and individual perceptions of weed-related risk to make weed management decisions. We discovered that Midwest farmer knowledge of ecological weed management practices is robust, and that the difficult trade-offs farmers make regarding cultivation, cover crops, and soil health determine what weed management practices they use. Midwest farmers balance the risks of cultivation and implementation of cover crops with their valuable benefits to soil health and weed suppression. Developing a decision support tool that provides a baseline of scientific evidence and that offers flexibility based on farmers’ experiences and values will clarify these trade-offs and guide effective decision-making.
Facilitating Ecological Weed Management Decisions by Assessing Risk-Benefit Tradeoffs
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