Ed Winkle has seen the enemy and it is called Palmer amaranth. The Martinsville, Ohio, grower could hardly believe how a weed gone wildly resistant to glyphosate can overtake a field.
“I was surprised at the magnitude of the problem,” says Winkle, commenting on trip to Arkansas to see Palmer amaranth, also generically known as pigweed. “Marestail is more of a problem in my farming area, but we’d better get our act together or we could be facing similar situations.”
Winkle was part of a program called “Respect the Rotation.” Bayer CropScience brought a mix of Midwestern farmers, weed scientists, crop consultants and seed industry professionals to the Mid-South last summer to see how and why dependence on one herbicide has resulted in weed resistance.
Andy Hurst, product manager for Bayer, says the goal of the program is to preserve the utility of glyphosate herbicide and promote proper stewardship of viable technologies. "Respect the Rotation provides the opportunity for an open dialogue to help define how the industry can work comprehensively to support and act upon the messages the weed science community has championed for years."
Respect the Rotation is an initiative to elevate the importance of and grower adoption of herbicide diversity. Herbicide mode of action (MOA) rotation is essential to improve weed resistance management.
Rotation of crops, traits and herbicides is the heart of an integrated weed management plan. Hurst says no single strategy is likely to be completely effective.
Take these steps to preserve herbicide technology:
- Know your weeds and your fields. Monitor problematic areas with difficult to control weeds or dense weed populations.
- Start with clean fields. Proper tillage or the use of a burndown herbicide program should be used to control all emerged weeds prior to planting.
- Apply herbicides correctly. Ensure proper application, including timing, rates and spray volumes.
- Control weed escapes. Consider spot herbicide applications, row wicking, cultivation or hand removal to improve weed management.
- Reduce the seed bank. Do not allow surviving weeds to set seed. You want to decrease weed populations from year to year and prevent weed shifts.
- Clean equipment. Prevent the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds and seeds.
Listen in as Winkle tells of his Arkansas weed adventure: