A survey of weed research priorities: Key findings and future directions

Daniel C. Brainard, Erin R. Haramoto, Ramon G. Leon, James J. Kells, Lee R. Van Wychen, Pratap Devkota, Mithila Jugulam, Jacob N. Barney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We conducted an online survey of weed scientists in the United States and Canada to (1) identify research topics perceived to be important for advancing weed science in the next 5 to 10 years and (2) gain insight into potential gaps in current expertise and funding sources needed to address those priorities. Respondents were asked to prioritize nine broad research areas, as well as 5 to 10 subcategories within each of the broad areas. We received 475 responses, with the majority affiliated with academic institutions (55%) and working in cash crop (agronomic or horticultural) study systems (69%). Results from this survey provide valuable discussion points for policy makers, funding agencies, and academic institutions when allocating resources for weed science research. Notably, our survey reveals a strong prioritization of Cultural and Preventative Weed Management (CPWM) as well as the emerging area of Precision Weed Management and Robotics (PWMR). Although Herbicides remain a high-priority research area, continuing challenges necessitating integrated, nonchemical tactics (e.g., herbicide resistance) and emerging opportunities (e.g., robotics) are reflected in our survey results. Despite previous calls for greater understanding and application of weed biology and ecology in weed research, as well as recent calls for greater integration of social science perspectives to address weed management challenges, these areas were ranked considerably lower than those focused more directly on weed management. Our survey also identified a potential mismatch between research priorities and expertise in several areas, including CPWM, PWMR, and Weed Genomics, suggesting that these topics should be prime targets for expanded training and collaboration. Finally, our survey suggests an increasing reliance on private sector funding for research, raising concerns about our discipline's capacity to address important research priority areas that lack clear private sector incentives for investment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-343
Number of pages14
JournalWeed Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 13 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Weed Science Society of America.


  • Education
  • funding
  • investment
  • research.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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