Weeds: An Ongoing Battle

The fight to control yield-robbing weeds goes back thousands of years, to agriculture’s beginnings. For the nation’s ag retailers and their grower-customers, this presents both challenges and opportunities.

According to most analysts, weeds account for approximately $95 billion annually in lost global food production. In recent years, much of this decline can be traced back to an ever-expanding list of glyphosate-resistant weed species.

“Glyphosate-resistant weeds currently affect an estimated 7.5 million U.S. row crop acres in corn, soybeans, and cotton,” says Chuck Foresman, manager of weed resistance strategies for Syngenta Crop Protection. He adds that most observers predict this number will grow significantly by 2013, when one in four acres will be invested with glyphosate-resistant weeds.

To appreciate how this all adds up for the average grower-customer, says Gary Schmitz, technical service manager for BASF, consider the following. “According to one study from The Ohio State University, farmers experienced a 6% to 10% yield loss per acre when the weeds in their fields were 9- to 12-inches high,” says Schmitz. “In corn, results show that weeds as little as 4 inches tall have the potential to cause a 4.5 bushel-per-acre yield loss.”

This has even become a major problem outside the nation’s Corn Belt. “Pal­mer amaranth or pigweed has taken over many cotton fields in the South,” says Dan Westberg, technical marketing manager for BASF. “In many places, growers are now using workers in row gangs to take this weed out of their fields by hand because traditional crop protection products are not proving effective in providing any kind of control.”

Besides Palmer amaranth, there currently are several other glyphosate-resistant weed types in more than one dozen states. These include common ragweed, giant ragweed, hairy fleabane, common waterhemp, Italian ryegrass, and marestail (or horseweed), which was the first glyphosate-resistant weed species discovered back in 2000.

“When glyphosate was first introduced for weed control, its unique way of inhibiting protein synthesis and growth in plants led many to believe that resistance would not be an issue,” says David Shaw, president of the Weed Science Society of America. “Obviously, that prediction was wrong.

“Unfortunately, it is too late to prevent glyphosate resistance from developing,” Shaw continues. “It’s a problem that is already with us. The challenge now is to adopt effective management techniques that can keep resistance from spreading.”

Methods To Control Weeds

University scientists recommend growers rotate the types of herbicides used to control weeds, making it tougher for the plants to adapt. Jeff Carpenter, corn portfolio manager for DuPont Crop Protection, agrees with this recommendation.

“We are constantly trying to introduce products for weed control that offer multiple modes of action and blend exisiting products that offer more effective control,” says Carpenter. “Ultimately, the goal with any of these is to help prolong the life of the glyphosate system that growers have relied on for the longer term.” To this end, he adds, DuPont offers its brand Prequel, a pre-mix which combines the active ingredients rimsulfuron and isoxafutole.

According to BASF’s Westberg, certain weeds such as marestail must be controlled prior to the emergence of crops such as soybeans, or else growers will be dealing with “a complete mess” in their fields. The company’s herbicide saflufenacil (marketed under the Kixor technology brandname) can be used in these instances as a preplant burndown option. “Kixor also provides residual control, meaning they need fewer in-season postemergence applications,” he adds.

Leave a Reply

Herbicides Stories

Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weeds
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
HerbicidesRegional Listening Sessions Give Farmers A Voice In The Battle Against Herbicide Resistance
February 27, 2017
Both scientists and regulators have had a lot to say about the growing problem of herbicide resistance and how weed Read More
Palmer amaranth
HerbicidesSeed Industry Introduces New Palmer Amaranth Test
January 31, 2017
Weed seed can be spread in a variety of ways-including by air, animals, rain, soil and mechanical means. In a Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance Goes Viral On Twitter
January 26, 2017
“Think differently. Behave differently. Diversify however you can. Not every practice fits on every acre.” That was the message from Read More
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Latest News
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More