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Corn & Soybean Digest Farm Industry News
A Prism Business Media Publication December 8, 2006 | 061208   
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Laying the Groundwork for Better Weed Management

 >> Glyphosate Resistance a Real 'Eye-Opener'

 >> Pigweed Not Only Threat to Glyphosate Resistance

 >> Scientists Develop Plan to Fight Glyphosate Resistance

 >> Defending Against Glyphosate Resistance

 >> What You Can't See Can Hurt You

 >> The Economics of Glyphosate Resistance

 >> Yesterday the World; Today the Midwest

 >> Cornbelt Braces for Glyphosate Resistance

 >> Crop Solutions for Midwest Growers

 >> More Solutions for Midwest Growers

 >> Summary and Conclusion


With the recent confirmation of resistant horseweed (marestail) in Nebraska and other weeds confirmed or being closely investigated for glyphosate resistance, this issue continues to be a hot topic. RFD-TV Live! on Monday, December 11, 2006 with Syngenta focuses on glyphosate resistance in the Midwest. The program airs from 8 to 9 p.m. EST (7 to 8 p.m. CST). RFD-TV can be found on Dish Network channel 9409, DIRECTV channel 379 and Mediacom cable.

Logan Hawkes
Special Edition
12/08/06    Crop News Weekly
Welcome to a special edition of Crop News Weekly. With the growing concern and press coverage of glyphosate resistant weeds in Midwest fields, we feel it prudent to offer substantial information about this growing problem in an effort to better inform and prepare you for the road ahead. The art and science of agriculture is an evolving technology. While stumbling blocks are inherit to all progress, getting and staying informed on the issues has long been the best safeguard from becoming discouraged and even distracted from reaching our ultimate goal. If growing better and more profitable crops is your prime objective, you'll find this issue of particular value as you forge ahead in a world where conquering the challenges of farming is not only rewarding, but necessary.

I hope you'll find this information useful and encourage your personal comments as we strive to bring you the best in responsible agriculture reporting. Happy reading.

Laying the Groundwork for Better Weed Management
Understanding the Problem
Regardless how much or how little you read or understand about crop sciences you are no doubt aware of an emerging problem with glyphosate resistant weeds. What was once little more than under-the-breath mumbling around the water cooler during breaks at crop conferences and extension service meetings has blossomed into widespread realization and fear of the inevitable and developing problem, namely, too much of a good thing can eventually turn into a bad thing.

But pointing the finger and laying the blame in one direction or another doesn't solve the problem. It's like discovering the splinter in your finger and not worrying where you got it but instead focusing on the best way to be rid of it. While the academic and scientific communities will debate, research, experiment, and theorize on the hows and whys of the problem for some time to come, the average grower will be content just to get past it and find a solution that will turn the tide against a potential weed epidemic in the field.

Fear of gylphosate-based herbicide resistance first emerged in cotton fields in the Southeast. Soon confirmed cases were filtering out of Delaware, Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas. Midwest corn and soybean growers became concerned when Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, officials raised a flag of warning as isolated incidents slowly turned into broader concerns.

In the Midwest there are several other common weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate-based herbicides: common ragweed and palmer amaranth, a very aggressive waterhemp relative. In addition, some other weeds, such as giant ragweed and waterhemp are being investigated now for possible resistance. A common factor in these resistant weed populations has been the use of glyphosate-based herbicides as the primary weed control option over an extended period of time. Each time such a herbicide is used, we're selecting for resistance. So the more often we use a herbicide the more likely we are to encounter resistance.

Glyphosate Resistance a Real 'Eye-Opener'
From Fear to Realization
In this report from veteran Farm Press writer Forrest Laws you will discover how fear over glyphosate-based herbicide control of Palmer amaranth in Georgia grew from little more than suspicion to widespread concern that a terrible problem was developing in cotton fields in the Southland. Seed samples collected from a Georgia grower's field were taken to the laboratory at the University of Georgia's Rural Development Center in Tifton for testing and what they discovered "scared us quite a bit", state officials report.


Lexar® controls ALS- and triazine-resistant weeds and broadleaf weeds increasingly tolerant to glyphosate herbicides, with three different modes of action to fight weed resistance. And using a full rate of Lexar in a one-pass system through the AgriEdge™ program assures that you'll get your technology fees paid back.
Pigweed Not Only Threat to Glyphosate Resistance
Broadening the Problem
While Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, is emerging as a major target for glyphosate resistance, the problem doesn't stop there. Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff, reported back in October that Midwest and Southeast growers have been experiencing glyphosate resistant horseweed, or marestail as it is commonly called, in their fields. In 2006, glyphosate resistant common ragweed was reported in a handful of counties in North Carolina as well, and the problem continues to spread across weed varieties.

Scientists Develop Plan to Fight Glyphosate Resistance
Spread of Problem Spurs Action
Horseweed resistant to glyphosate was first confirmed in North Carolina in 2003 and the problem now exists in at least five counties. It is also suspected in northern Alabama. During the summer of 2004, common ragweed resistance to glyphosate was found in Arkansas and Missouri. The spread of the problem spurred scientists to begin searching for answers.


Callisto® offers proven crop safety, even though it takes down the nastiest broadleaves in the field. This herbicide also provides residual control throughout the season. Ask your dealer how to manage resistance and control broadleaves with Callisto.
Defending Against Glyphosate Resistance
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
If your game plan includes Roundup Ready (RR) cropping, you may want to borrow a page from a coach's playbook. University weed specialists say the best defense against glyphosate resistance will come from a fundamental offense. The best offensive may include pre- or at-planting burndown, a return to pre-emergence herbicides, crop scouting, and timely post-emergence spraying.

What You Can't See Can Hurt You
Recognizing the Dangers
Most growers are familiar with the inevitability of escaped weeds and their relation to herbicide control and management. But they may not fully understand what future problems could be lurking in their fields. How much is too much? When should you be alerted to a glyposate resistance problem in your fields?

The Economics of Glyphosate Resistance
Are herbicide costs going up?
Past experience has proven that herbicide over-use can lead to weed resistance and higher costs. Fields with resistant or difficult-to-control weeds cost growers additional herbicide applications, machinery expenses, and time for application and management. While glyphosate-tolerant cropping systems have saved growers since the middle of the last decade, the emerging glyphosate resistant weed outbreak promises to erase at least some of those economic benefits.

Studies indicate that the majority of growers reporting glyphosate-resistant marestail experienced increased production costs. Forty-three percent of those growers reported an increase of $2 to $7 per acre, while 20 percent reported an increase of $8- per acre and up, that's according to a 2004 University of Delaware survey.

The economics of glyphosate-resistant weeds indicates growers must make a choice between increasing frequency and volume of glyphosate-based herbicides to combat the problem or resort to expensive alternative herbicides to counter prolonged effects of glyposate-based application.

Yesterday the World; Today the Midwest
Iowa State University
What may have started in Australia and is now being reported in most corners of the world may soon plague growers in the U.S. Midwest. Current glyphosate use in the Midwest makes resistance inevitable. When resistance develops, control of these biotypes will be necessary with existing herbicides because no herbicides with new modes of action will be introduced in the foreseeable future. Several alternative products for use in corn and soybean fields will reduce the impact of glyphosate resistance, but costs can be high. Thus, evaluating weed management programs in terms of selection pressure placed on weeds should be an important component of crop management planning.

Cornbelt Braces for Glyphosate Resistance
Syngenta Crop Protection
In a 2002 report, weed scientists in the Corn Belt speculated glyphosate resistance will spread across the Midwest and growers should take steps to manage it. Resistance could spoil the effectiveness of Roundup Ready" (RR') technology, which is now used on about 75% of the soybeans in the U.S. It was only a few years ago that waterhemp developed resistance to the most popular soybean herbicides at that time, a family of chemistry known as ALS-inhibitors. The timing coincided with the introduction of RR soybeans, which quickly eclipsed ALS-inhibitors and solved the problem - at least for a while. This time around, however, there is no major new technology waiting if a problem develops.

Crop Solutions for Midwest Growers
Syngenta Crop Protection
Roundup Ready crops encourage producers to rely on glyphosate herbicides for their entire weed-management program, but researchers warn that repeated applications of the same herbicide can spur the development of weed shifts and even the possibility of herbicide resistance. To prevent that from happening they recommend that Roundup Ready corn and soybean growers implement resistance-management strategies now so growers won't have to deal with those problems later. One step that conservation-tillage growers can incorporate right away is the use of an alternative herbicide at burndown to manage weed resistance and weed shifts.

More Solutions for Midwest Growers
University of Minnesota
Midwest weed scientists believe in the value that glyphosate and Roundup Ready crops offer to growers. But growers and crop advisors should evaluate how they use glyphosate and Roundup Ready technologies to gain the value of these technologies without increasing the risk of resistance. According to University of Minnesota researchers, ideally growers will alternate glyphosate use with other herbicide modes of action between years and incorporate appropriate integrated weed management practices such as soil-applied herbicides and cultivation with the use of glyphosate.

Summary and Conclusion
Time To Pay the Ferryman
It has become evident that evolving glyphosate resistance in several different weed species has become more common and is problematic at a growing rate. Given the widespread adoption of glyphosate-resistant soybean and cotton, and the anticipated increase in glyphosate-resistant corn, glyphosate will be applied consistently to more fields every year. The level of selection pressure imparted by this management strategy will inevitably result in weeds that are not controlled effectively by glyphosate. Now is the time to review your weed and crop management system and make decisions on how you will respond if glyphosate resistance becomes problematic in your fields in the months and years ahead.


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