When it comes to herbicide resistance, it might be said the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Despite advances in the way herbicides are applied and how technology is used to apply them, resistance continues to be a concern for most growers. A recent stat indicates an alarming 24.5 million acres of prairie farm land is infested with herbicide-resistant weeds.
The problem isn’t so much that the wrong herbicide is being used, it’s the fact these chemical mixtures aren’t being switched up frequently enough. This can encourage resistance in weeds and can ultimately limit production and decrease profitability.
So what can growers do to counter this threat? Here are four actions you can start doing today:
First and foremost, it’s time to be proactive. By regularly rotating crops and the herbicides they use, they can have these products available to them for longer periods of time. In some cases, it could mean as much as 15 to 20 years of extended life.
Develop a long-term strategy
Growers should also think long-term rather than focusing on the here and now. That means not letting small problems become big ones. If a particular herbicide didn’t work in one small patch, don’t assume it won’t eventually become an issue for the rest of your field. The best advice is to take immediate action, whether it’s retreating the affected area or, worst case scenario, removing it from production by mowing or tillage.
As part of this long-term focus, growers should adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy which makes use of all available technologies to manage weed and insect problems effectively. IPM offers growers a number of different tools (cultural, biological and chemical) to fight pests rather than a single silver bullet.
Look to the experts for help
An essential part of any IPM strategy is engaging service providers like scouts and agronomists. Not only can they identify weed-related issues, determine what is causing them and chart their location, they can also offer a different perspective on solutions and best practices. While these services come at a price, they cost far less than dealing with a field full of wild oat or having to resort to hand weeding.
Keep detailed records of applications
Once you have an IPM strategy in place, it’s important to develop a comprehensive system to track pesticide and herbicide applications. This is crucial as it allows you (with your service provider) to determine how effective a product is and avoid applying the same product year after year.
Like many growers, keeping track of piles of paper records is tedious and often forgotten. Missing application data including date applied, chemical used, and other key data points, makes it impossible to keep to your best IPM strategy.
Croptivity Scouting Solution was designed to help farms manage field observations and production recommendations, and make the data available when and where you make crop and application decisions whether it’s tomorrow, next season, or even years later.