Agronomy News of the Month
Our Agronomy Article for June is...
By Bob Schlosser, Agronomist
Weeds come in many forms. “Any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted” is about the best definition that I have heard. We have been fortunate to get through so many years with just simple glyphosate applications, but those times are soon to be something we tell our grandchildren about of how it used to be. But in a way, we have been our own worst enemy because we all took the easiest route to handle weed control. We created herbicide resistant weeds.
Understand that there are approximately 250,000 plant species in this world. Only about 3% or 8000 plants are considered weeds. We could, in fact feel that we are lucky that number is low unless those weeds are in our fields and making havoc with our yields. Also knowing that our yields have to maintain a higher level to get through these trying times.
Thus the clash of two realities. Mother Nature, with her weeds and us trying to control them. Herbicides are grouped together from what is called mode of action. There are about 16 different groups that are available to us. Of these groups, all, but a couple, have weed species that are resistant to these herbicides in the US. Group 2 has been hit the hardest with 44 resistant weeds here in the states. Group 9, glyphosate, has at least 13 resistant weeds that have been identified. In fact, it has been so easy in years past, I bet most of us don’t even know the groups of herbicides that are based on the mode of action. It has been too easy in the past. Things are changing rapidly going forward. Using a mix of multiple modes of action gives us a better chance for control with multiple passes with a residual product.
We all need to educate ourselves going forward and we have to be proactive in how we plan to combat this. I have read that weeds were once Nature’s cover crop, and we cannot change that. We should be looking at putting in more cover crops to slow the weeds down while enjoying many benefits of them. Keeping the microscopic organism’s alive, reducing soil compaction, building organic matter and many other benefits make it worth the effort.
You need to have an herbicide program that will fit your needs. Identifying your problem, of which type a weed you are having problems with, will lead to a better plan to control them. We have to get away from having a cheap herbicide program and use the cost effective program using full rates to make sure we have a chance for control.
You do not need to navigate these waters alone. We at Blacks Valley Ag can help you though this. The phone call and discussions are free. Ultimately, the grower is the one who makes the choice in the end and you do want to make the right choice going forward.
Good Luck this season.