All Hands on Deck

March 21, 2014 09:42 PM
All Hands on Deck

Industry members join forces to fight weed resistance

Weed resistance is spreading across U.S. crops like wildfire, snuffing out potential yields of corn, cotton and soybeans in the process.

Glyphosate-resistant weeds now infest nearly 61.2 million acres, according to a 2012 Stratus Agri-Marketing survey. But the problem is not confined to glyphosate. In many states, populations of Palmer amaranth and waterhemp now exhibit resistance to multiple herbicide classes, including ALS, HPPD and PPO inhibitors.

Presently, there are 428 unique cases of herbicide-resistant weeds globally with 233 species (137 dicots and 96 monocots), according to the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. The U.S. has the most herbicide-resistant weeds of any single country with 144. Australia is second with 62, and Canada is third. Globally, weeds have evolved resistance to 22 of the 25 known herbicide sites of action and to 152 different herbicides.

Lend support. In response to the resistance issue, the United Soybean Board (USB) has announced the formation of the Take Action program to help farmers find additional resources. In addition to soy checkoff dollars, the program is supported by BASF, Bayer CropScience, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto Company, along with corn, cotton, sorghum and wheat commodity organizations.

Jim Call, USB chairman and a soybean farmer from Madison, Minn., says the support that the program has received industrywide demonstrates the magnitude of the problem that farmers now face.

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The program features a new website,, which provides farmers with interactive guides on how to address various aspects of the resistance issue—from scouting fields to using various cultural practices and selecting herbicides.

"Implementing a diverse set of weed-management tactics is the No. 1, single, most important lesson learned in managing weed resistance to herbicides," says Bill Johnson, a Purdue University Extension weed scientist. "Only by implementing diverse weed-management practices will her­bi­cides be conserved as a valuable agri­cultural resource."

Johnson provided much of the technical editing for the Take Action website, in partnership with other university scientists in the major soybean-growing states.  

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 For more information about weed resistance and best management practices to control resistant weeds, visit


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