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

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
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

CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechKaren Arthur Joins AgriThority As Seed Treatment Produc…
December 19, 2014
Prior to joining AgriThority, Arthur directed research and development programs, overseeing laboratory and field research, to build the Valent U.S.A. seed treatment portfolio. Read More
EquipmentJohn Deere To Sell Crop Insurance Business
December 19, 2014
Deere & Co. has reached a definitive agreement to sell its crop insurance business, subject to regulatory approval, to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of Iowa. Read More
Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More