Living Without Regrets: Managing Weed Resistance

John Davis

young1It seems like a pretty common sense idea in weed management: cleaner soybean fields will equal better yields when harvest time comes around. But Bryan Young, a professor of weed science from Purdue University who conducted the BASF-sponsored learning session, “Clean Fields, High Yields: The Keys to Solving Your Weed Problems in 2014,” at Commodity Classic told the farmers attending that they have to break it down into three steps: 1. Accept the reality of what is going on in your fields (especially as it pertains to weed management); 2. Develop a plan; and 3. Put that plan into action.

“In accepting reality, you need to acknowledge when you might have resistance and stay ahead of it,” he said, adding that denial is the biggest problem many farmers have. He said if producers start off with the right mindset, they might not have to face regret later on. “I’ve never talked to a grower who’s had resistance that’s said to me, ‘Well, I wouldn’t have done anything different.'”

Once you accept the fact that you’ve got weed resistance, Bryan said you need to put together a plan to fight that resistance, admitting it’s complicated, but if you understand the different herbicides and the best sites of action for the weeds you have, developing what you are going to do starts to come into order.

Finally, you need to put the plan into action. Bryan said growers need to have a Plan A, B and C ready, because you have to be adaptive. “Our best intentions can go awry, because Mother Nature was going to put too much or not enough rain on a residual herbicide, so we just have to know what our Plan A, Plan B or Plan C are,” he said.

Another common mistake that producers make when facing weed resistance is not doing a good enough cost-benefit analysis when deciding how much they should spend to kill the weeds. While it might cost them $30 an acre more to treat a weed-resistant field, the yield results can more than make up for the costs they would have spent.

Finally, Bryan said farmers also need to look at weed treatments while different crops are rotated in those fields because of the carry-over when beans are back in there.

Listen to more of my interview with Bryan here: Bryan Young, Purdue
BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Agribusiness, Audio, BASF, Commodity Classic, weed management