Herbicide Diversity is Critical

With concerns continuing to develop over glyphosate weed resistance in no-tilled crops, weed scientists keep suggesting that growers start using LibertyLink and Clearfield traits that offer alter- native herbicide modes of action. But the question is whether ag chemical firms, seed companies and growers are excited enough to really pursue these opportunities.

Unpopular Alternatives

“I see big opportunities for Liberty because it represents a different mode of action and probably offers considerable diversification,” Stephen Powles stated in a recent confer- ence call on glyphosate resistance concerns sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection. He is a weed researcher at the University of Western Australia and a past speaker at the National No-Tillage Conference.

During the same call, Bill Johnson, a Purdue University weed scientist, stated that he also sees a tremendous opportunity for LibertyLink. “The technology works and when it is used according to the label directions, there is very little difference in weed control when compared with glyphosate,” he says.

Nothing Spectacular

Unfortunately, some seed firms appear to be demphasizing future development of the Clearfield technology with corn and soybeans. At the same time, the Clearfield technology is being expanded with wheat and other crops.

As an example, BASF has a new soybean compound featuring imidazolinone-tolerant (imi) traits under development in Latin America, but has no plans to bring this compound to North America. With over 100 million acres of existing glyphosate trait acres planted in 2005, company officials believe that some of their other existing herbicides can be used to…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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