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Reeling from resistance

Agriculture.com Staff 01/26/2010 @ 2:47pm

Initially, glyphosate appeared to be taking it on the chin this month at the Pan-American Weed Resistance Conference in Miami.

"My prediction is glyphosate will be driven to redundancy in large parts of North America and South America," says Stephen Powles, professor and director of the Western Australia Herbicide Resistance Initiative at the University of Western Australia.

The culprit? Weed resistance. Currently, biotypes of nine glyphosate-resistant weed species have been confirmed in 20 states.

Into the Bayer CropScience-sponsored conference, though, glyphosate was often praised.

"Glyphosate is the world's greatest herbicide," adds Powles. "It is a one in a 100-year discovery. It is right up there with penicillin for humans in terms of discovery. We should do everything we can to keep it."

Bayer scientists stressed the following tools to preserve glyphosate at the conference:

  • Herbicide diversity. This will involve rotating herbicide modes of action in a weed management strategy.
  • Crop diversity. "Changing crops also is one of the basic tools and building blocks for successful integrated weed control," says Harry Strek, who heads integrated weed management and weed resistance biology for Bayer.
  • Cultural practices and field hygiene measures. This includes factors like planting clean seed and tillage. However, this tool is limited in areas where no-till is predominant, say Bayer officials.

Initially, glyphosate appeared to be taking it on the chin this month at the Pan-American Weed Resistance Conference in Miami.

Powles terms the area reaching northward into the Corn Belt down through Alabama and Mississippi as the "Glyphosate Belt.

It's important to note weed resistance impacts other herbicide modes of action as well, such as in cereals.

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