Weed Management and Refuge Planting: One in the Same?

Prairie Gleanings

All Illinois corn growers are aware of the necessity of planting a refuge for Insect Resistance Management. Even if ...

Published on: August 25, 2008

All Illinois corn growers are aware of the necessity of planting a refuge for Insect Resistance Management. Even if you don't agree with the necessity of a refuge, it's hard to argue with the EPA.

Recently, I was visiting with a farmer in the central part of the state. We were out looking at weeds. He's a proponent of intensive weed management. As we were talking, we got onto the subject of not being able to control how neighbors manage weeds.


Here's a field I found in central Illinois. As you can see, it's been over-run with water hemp. Many farmers have found once water hemp grows taller than six inches, it's past the point of being controlled by glyphosate.

I asked the farmer if he views weed management in the same manner as planting a refuge. After an emphatic yes, he explained he sees more and more glyphosate-resistant weeds each year. Along with these weeds, he sees an abundance of poor management techniques, including waiting too long to spray, applying a low concentration of generic glyphosate, making one pass all year with the sprayer, not scouting, etc.

The main difference in the two practices (refuge planting and weed management) is the EPA requires refuge planting. However, the parallel between technology and pest adaptation is easy to see.

Not to mention, spending more per acre on weed management will often pay off at harvest. As this central Illinois farmer put it, "If I have to spend $40 an acre on weed management to get a return of $50 per acre on yields, then I need to spend $40 an acre."