Curbing Herbicide Resistance Together

Weed resistance to herbicides has no field boundaries, so get a group of neighbors together and battle weeds with a cohesive plan. And here’s why.

Jeff Evans is an ecologist and the owner of Farmscape Analytics, LLC. He was on a research team that conducted a computer modeling study assigning groups of farms with specific weed management tactics. Those tactics were analyzed how they would fare over time, and also as the group of farms got bigger. For example, one study group only applied glyphosate year-after-year.

"And when you take farms that are using that approach, that are only using glyphosate every year and you group them into larger and larger continuous clusters of farms, you accelerate the process of resistance spread in those fields," he says. "So, if you have an ineffective management strategy and you scale it up, you’re going to accelerate the rate of failure pretty dramatically."

He says the study also found that herbicide rotations and tank mixtures fared better than the approach of putting down glyphosate every year.

"For the first ten-years of the simulated study, both of those strategies seemed to do about equally well at keeping resistance down. Although, the tank mixtures resulted in smaller weed populations overall, and they also scaled up better," says Evans. "So, the tank mixtures that were effective against weeds that were both resistant and susceptible to glyphosate, those tactics did better when you grouped farms together in larger and larger groups."