Emerging herbicide technology will offer weed control options

Most of the spraying to control weeds in Ohio has wrapped up for the year, but more farmers than ever will being seeing unaffected weeds in an increasing portion of their fields. Maybe it is a few small clumps of weeds just here or there in some fields, but the problem does not take long to spread into yield hindering masses of unsightly and damaging weeds that do not die when they are sprayed.

There is a growing concern with herbicide resistant weeds in the Corn Belt and farmers are looking for solutions.

“In the Midwest we are still at a low incidence of weed resistance compared to the Southern states, but we can’t see that number and be comfortable with it. That 20% of weeds we are seeing with resistance was doubled from the previous year,” said Damon Palmer, U.S. Commercial Leader for Enlist for Dow AgroSciences. “The farmers are probably the most frustrated and the farm gate is really where the real cost is as well. And, the guys down south will tell you once the problem gets there, it is too late. You need to plan now to address this.”

For now, farmers must rely upon an increasing level of management and careful stewardship to address these challenges. Diversity with modes of action, careful consideration of crop rotation, timely weed control and pre- and post- emergent weed management are more important than ever before.

There are, however, more solutions on the way. At the recent Beck’s Hybrids Media Day, representatives from industry leading companies outlined a future that will include many more tools for addressing weed herbicide resistance, particularly in soybeans.

“The demand for our soybeans has doubled in sales in the last four or five years,” said Scott Beck, vice president of Beck’s Hybrids. “We’re definitely interested in supplying farmers with the products they want and they need to know what technology is coming. We have to be prepared for this technology with our product line.”

There are a number of collaborative efforts in the pipeline from industry leaders to address the growing challenge of resistant weeds.

“While all of these folks are competing, they are collaborating for the benefit of farmers. There are a lot of things that are very positive from this effort that will make differences in how farmers can manage things in the future,” said Bruce Kettler with Beck’s Hybrids. “There is an urgency with this problem. Most farmers feel like we can’t get these solutions here fast enough. We are looking at 2014, 2015 or 2016 for possible approval and the regulatory process seems like one of the real stumbling blocks with this. But, there is reason for optimism out there with these new tools. There will be some very good tools out there for farmers.”

At the event, attendees got to hear from the experts about emerging herbicide tolerant technologies.

Luke Bozeman, technical manager for BASF,

Damon Palmer, U.S. Commercial Leader for Enlist for Dow AgroSciences

Brett Miller, technical product lead for Syngenta

And Allen Gent, U.S. soybean product manager for Bayer CropScience

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