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Fighting pigweed? Respect the Rotation

Those already living the nightmare walk the fields with hoes in hand and a changed mindset. And those still staring into the abyss of weed resistance are flat-out scared.

A cross section of weed management, tillage and agronomy experts came together this summer in Memphis for a Bayer CropScience initiative called Respect the Rotation.

The goal of the program is simple. “Preserve the utility of glyphosate,” said Andy Hurst, product manager for Bayer, maker of Ignite herbicide, which is used in LibertyLink crops.

Key Points

• Respect the Rotation is initiative to protect weed control options.

• At its core, it’s about protecting the usefulness of glyphosate.

• Recommendations include mixing up modes of action.

“Glyphosate is still the world’s great herbicide,” said Stephen Powles, noted Australian weed scientist. “Unfortunately, it’s going to be driven to extinction if we don’t change the way we
use it.”

That involves an integrated weed management approach. Respect the Rotation highlights the rotation of crops, use of advanced tillage methods, and different herbicide modes of action such as residuals and LibertyLink, used in a timely manner while the weeds are smaller than 3 inches.

After two days of touring fields overrun with glyphosate-resistant pigweed and learning about field research aimed at finding a solution, the 200 in attendance were literally singing the pigweed blues.

“Those were my chopper crews you saw while driving down the road,” Allen Helms, a past chairman of the National Cotton Council, said in a panel discussion group. “Weed resistance forces you to change your entire management system. You go to war every day.”

Northwest Missouri farmer and writer Blake Hurst looked into the abyss the Mid-South is facing and then called his father.

“This scares me to death,” he told him.


WATCH OUT: University of Arkansas weed specialist Jason Norsworthy says pigweed is viral if left unchecked.

This article published in the November, 2010 edition of MID-SOUTH FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.