"Learn from our mistakes," says Ford Baldwin, of Practical Weed Consultants, Austin, Ark. "You can avoid all this."
"All this" is glyphosate resistant pigweeds. Some soybean fields in the Mid-South last year were a total loss and had to be disked down and replanted. Others had to be rotated out of soybeans. Hand labor is routinely being used again in many cotton and soybean fields. The spread of resistant weeds is affecting land rents. It may soon affect land values.
Even if you have clean fields now, start managing like you have resistant weeds, he advises.
Resistant species spread quickly from a few surviving plants in a field one year, to a few patches the next year, to an infestation that covers the whole field the third year.
The solution, says Baldwin, who spoke at recent resistance management meeting sponsored by Peterson Farms Seed and Bayer Crop Science in Fargo, N.D., is to stop using glyphosate year after year.
Glyphosate may only costs $3-$5 per acre, but it won't work forever if you are using it repeatedly on resistant crops.
There's already glyphosate-resistant ragweed and waterhemp in the region. Michael Christoffers, North Dakota State University assistant weed science professor, says he suspects there are resistant lambsquarter and kochia, too.
Save glyphosate for the crop you need it in the most – sugarbeets, soybeans or canola, for instance. There is plenty of other "firepower" to use in corn or wheat, Baldwin says.
Try Liberty Link corn or soybeans.
Bottom line: Spend an extra $10, $20 or $30 per acre controlling weeds on some of your acres now. It will save $30 per acre or more on all of your land in the future.