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Knock down herbicide resistance

Jeff Caldwell 02/08/2012 @ 1:39pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Glyphosate resistance isn't the end of the world.

It certainly doesn't mean the popular herbicide is no longer any good, according to experts who took part in the Respect the Rotation events last summer around the Corn Belt, according to Bayer CropScience. The events brought together farmers, university weed specialists and agronomists, and Bayer representatives to show how to manage weeds in an era of growing herbicide resistance. Last year, more than 275 million acres were treated with a glyphosate-based herbicide.

"That exceeded the next closest active ingredient applied by nearly six-fold," says Bayer technical brand manager Andy Hurst.

But, that doesn't mean the chemical's efficacy is dried up, especially when used in conjunction with other products, both chemicals and "cultural practices," says Lowell Sandell, weed scientist at the University of Nebraska.

“Just because we have glyphosate-resistant weeds out there doesn’t mean that glyphosate is not a useful herbicide at all,” Sandell says. "We need to maintain its usefulness through active resistance management. Rotation of modes of action and diversification of our weed management programs both from a herbicide and a cultural practices standpoint is critical."

Planting a more diverse portfolio of genetics that includes herbicide-tolerant traits like Bayer's LibertyLink is one way to combat the resistance bug, Hurst says. On top of that, rotating different chemicals helps keep weeds knocked down and helps maintain the efficacy of those chemicals.

"We try to rotate our crops through glyphosate at the most every other year," says Al Ludwig, a north-central Iowa farmer. "We'll rotate and use Laudis on our corn, Sometimes we have fields go three years in a row without Roundup on them. In my personal use, Roundup continues to work very well every-other-year, as does my Ignite."

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