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Weed Resistance To Herbicide Increasing

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Wallaces Farmer, 12 April 2011            

Despite the almost universal adoption of genetically engineered crops, specifically those resistant to glyphosate herbicide, weed problems in Iowa continue to be important and actually, they are getting worse.

That’s the observation and latest thinking of Iowa State University Extension weed scientist Mike Owen. He made those comments at the end of the day, as he summed up presentations that were made by weed researchers from the University of Illinois and Iowa State University at a March 31, 2011 conference on weed resistance held at Davenport, Iowa.

Researchers from herbicide companies and seed companies also voiced their opinions and gave their recommendations, regarding the causes of and possible solutions to this increasing problem.

Weeds are continuing to evolve and develop resistance

He says resistant populations of weeds are continuing to evolve and develop resistance to more herbicides. Weed resistance to glyphosate is a growing problem. And other herbicides are being added to the resistance list. For example, resistance to HPPD inhibitor herbicides was documented in seed corn fields. “I suspect resistance to this herbicide group is more widely distributed than most farmers realize,” says Owen.

He says it’s crucial for farmers, chemical dealers, crop consultants and everyone involved in weed mangement to take steps to help prevent further spread or development of herbicide resistant weeds. “In Iowa we now have resistance in waterhemp to triazine herbicides, ALS inhibitors, PPO inhibitors, glyphosate and HPPD inhibitor herbicides,” he adds.

Weeds are most important pest Iowa farmers face each year

Proper weed management will make farmers more money every year than managing any other pest. Diversity of tactics is the key. “Weeds represent the most important and economically damaging pest that Iowa soybean and corn farmers face every year,” Owen says.

Evolved resistance to herbicides continues to escalate in Iowa. Glyphosate-resistant populations of waterhemp are widespread and increasing. Similarly, glyphosate-resistance in giant ragweed and marestail are becoming increasingly important. Last year, resistance to HPPD inhibitor herbicides (products such as Laudis, Callisto and Impact) was documented in seed corn production fields.

“I suspect that resistance to this herbicide group is more widely distributed than most growers realize. Thus in Iowa, we have resistance in waterhemp to the triazine herbicides (atrazine), ALS inhibitors (Pursuit), PPO inhibitors (Phoenix), glyphosate and now the HPPD inhibitor herbicides,” he notes.

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