Agriculture, A.G. (After Glyphosate)?

Over the weekend, I read a very interesting article in the New York Times. The story focused on the growing number of glyphosate-resistant weeds now appearing across the country and the impact these are having on current agricultural practices. According to the article, there are at least 10 species of resistant weeds in 22 states, affecting from 7 million to 10 million acres. While this represents only a fraction of the estimated 170 million acres of cropland in the U.S. devoted to corn, soybean, and cotton production, it has steadily increased during the past decade – and promises to do so even more in the coming years.

The article went on to describe how the problem of glyphosate-resistant weeds was forcing some growers to abandon environmental-friendly production techniques such as no-till farming in favor of tilling the soil and, in some cases, pulling up weeds by hand. “We’re back to where we were 20 years ago,” said one grower in the story.

Now, for those of us who regularly follow the agricultural marketplace, none of this is news. Glyphosate-resistant weeds have been an issue since 2000 and ag retailers and their grower-customers have adopted a range of methods to combat them.

But what was interesting was reading comments from growers in the article that questioned the wisdom of supporting the biotech seed movement if glyphosate alone was no longer an effective tool in their weed control arsenal. “You’re having to add another product with the Roundup to kill your weeds,” said one Iowa corn and soybean grower. “So then why are we buying Roundup Ready product?” A similar comment came from a third-generation cotton grower in Georgia. “If we don’t whip this thing, it’s going to be like the boll weevil did to cotton,” he said. “It will take it away.”

Now I don’t believe the Era of Glyphosate is coming to an end. But it is clear that crop protection manufacturers and ag retailers need to do more to help growers overcome this threat. As always, education will be the key, helping growers learn how to rotate their herbicide control methods to keep resistant weeds from spreading.

At the end of the day, glyphosate is too special a tool for agriculture to lose. As one scientist in the article said, glyphosate “is as important for reliable global food production as penicillin is for battling disease.”

Of course, penicillin-resistant germs have created many headaches for medical professionals in recent years. Agriculture needs to make sure this fate doesn’t befall glyphosate as well.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Agriculture, A.G. (After Glyphosate)?

  1. Eric,
    It is apparent you have spent time enough sitting under men like Dr. Don Huber, Dr. Robert Kremer, or Dr. Means. Just do a Google search on them and glyphosate to get the real scoop on a chemical which is killing us and out critters by inches. Here’s a quote from a recent email from Dr. Huber: “Art Dunham, DVM in Iowa reports very deficient levels of Mn in necropsy livers with high cattle and pig mortality, and remediation when Mn was supplemented in the ration – although still better if higher Mn (non-GMO) through the feed.”

    The increase in soil fungal pathogenicity is an open and shut case. Glyphosate is the culprit and it does not bio-degrade nearly as well as we were told. France has removed “bio-degradable” from the label. Go here http://www.soilcursebuster for a compilation of articles and links that will hopefully cause you to rewrite after repenting. It was not so long ago that I stood where you are now. Then the Vomitoxin plague of 2009 hit my clients north of I-70. Praying for you, Eric, that your voice will be added to the alarm sounding.

  2. Imagine – weed resistance builds up after applying the same active ingredient multiple times on the same acreage, multiple years in a row!

    No self respecting consultant would recommend this practice.

Herbicides Stories
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
Winter Wheat
HerbicidesArysta Touts Burndown Herbicide For Brome Management In Wheat
June 4, 2014
Arysta LifeScience North America recommends PRE-PARE Burndown Herbicide for effective brome management in winter wheat. Read More
HerbicidesFall Herbicide Applications More Effectively Manage Resistant Italian Ryegrass
May 14, 2014
Field studies show that a fall application of certain herbicides before weed emergence, leads to more successful crop planting and weed control in spring. Read More
Waterhemp in soybean stubble
HerbicidesThe Weed Resistance Problem: A Matter Of Billions
April 1, 2014
Not only is the amount of money being spent to control these yield robbers high, but the toll it has taken on the human population is growing lager by the day. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Latest News
FertilizerVerdesian Announces Central America Plant Nutrition Exp…
July 7, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a commercial agreement with Agroalfa in Central America to bring the company’s patented polymer technology to Read More
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementCourt Decision Protects Chesapeake Bay’s Water, Wildlif…
July 7, 2015
Today, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the historic clean-up plan for the Chesapeake Bay. Collin O’Mara, president and Read More
Agworld Apple Watch Farm Management
EquipmentAussie Data Management Software Company Making Its Mark…
July 4, 2015
Western-Australia-based Agworld — having fully launched its data management software system stateside last year after a 2013 soft launch — Read More
Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
ManagementUnited Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes Merger & Crop Update
July 2, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the reasons behind the United Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes merger and USDA’s recent Read More
Industry NewsBioSafe Adds To Sales Force
July 2, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the hire of two new members for its service team. David Britt recently joined the team Read More
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementChesapeake Bay Clean-Up Gets Renewed Attention
July 2, 2015
The Chesapeake Bay has been called one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. It’s also one of Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
ManagementBulk Pesticide Compliance: Top 10 Areas Of Improvement …
July 1, 2015
  In honor of the 33-year run of David Letterman’s Late Show, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is happy Read More
Industry NewsArysta North America Hires Midwest Sales Manager
July 1, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the hiring of Brian Battles as the Senior Technical Sales Manager for the Midwest Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Retail FacilitiesBuilding Up Ag Retail
July 1, 2015
In the oftentimes unpredictable world we live in, it’s nice to know some things can be reliably countered on to Read More
Retail FacilitiesMaple River Grain And Agronomy Phases In Site Developme…
July 1, 2015
Marcus Construction helped Maple River Grain and Agronomy in Casselton, ND, with the design-build of its dry fertilizer, liquid chemical/seed Read More
Retail FacilitiesA&B Welding Builds A New Liquid Terminal Hub For Br…
July 1, 2015
To build its new hub facility, Briggs Crop Nutrients enlisted the help of A&B Welding. The result, an efficient facility Read More
Edon Farmers Co-op
Retail FacilitiesNew Marcus Facility At Edon Farmers Co-op Provides More…
July 1, 2015
Edon Farmers Co-Op in Edon, OH, needed a new facility to consolidate outdated locations. Marcus Construction was able to design Read More
Retail FacilitiesKinder Morgan Expands Its Storage With A New Dome Barre…
July 1, 2015
Kinder Morgan wanted additional covered storage at its Dakota Bulk Terminal on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. With Read More
Retail FacilitiesHeartland Tank Protects Fertilizer From Extreme Cold At…
July 1, 2015
The Arthur Companies in Harvey, ND, enlisted the help of Heartland Tank Companies to develop a new liquid fertilizer facility Read More
The McGregor Co. fertilizer loadout
Retail FacilitiesThe McGregor Co. Partners With Kahler Automation To Cre…
June 30, 2015
Kahler Automation helped The McGregor Co. expand its Clarkston, WA, operation with unstaffed loadout technology that enables customers to pick Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Helps CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative Build…
June 30, 2015
CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative in Mooreton, ND, wanted a liquid/dry blender system that could meet the needs of its customers Read More