Time to Take Tech Stewardship Seriously

Prairie Gleanings

Technology stewardship is up to the farmer. We've seen what happens when you hit the easy button on weed management.

Published on: July 29, 2013

Last week, I saw Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean crop technology in action at a field day in Collinsville.

As a refresher, these are the soybeans with glyphosate and dicamba tolerance built in. And, yes, the release has been delayed by USDA ordering an Environmental Impact Statement. According to Monsanto reps, 2015 is looking to be the earliest this crop technology will hit the mainstream.

A couple days later, I was in Brownstown at a University of Illinois field day. During a stop on weed management, numerous farmers took an opportunity to complain about Monsanto’s claims that glyphosate resistance would never become a reality.

I’m too young to remember Monsanto making those claims. But, I know just about everyone over the age of 40 does remember it.

This is an untreated check. In many areas of the mid-south, untreated and "glyphosate-treated" look the same.
This is an untreated check. In many areas of the mid-south, untreated and "glyphosate-treated" look the same.

Here’s the thing, Monsanto’s being much more cautious with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend. Numerous technology reps pointed out that the best management practices that go along with this technology are not recommendations. They are requirements.

Monsanto is no longer hoping the farmer will properly steward this technology. They are now requiring it. 

The big question is will farmers do it. Remember when weed management was simple and cheap? The biggest question was could you wait until late in the season and make one trip with glyphosate. Yet, corners were cut.

Today, it’s much more expensive to control weeds. More applications are required for complete control. There’s even more corners out there to be cut.

One farmer on the Brownstown tour reminded everyone that tech stewardship is the responsibility of the farmer. Everyone was quick to agree.

Yet, just 5 minutes later, a farmer asked the U of I professor a question about whether two specific herbicides would work on a difficult waterhemp population. The professor didn’t mince words. He said there was a 95% chance it would not work.

The grower responded, “Well, we’re going to try it.”