Tackling Resistance Woes

Even though there’s a growing concern over the development of herbicide-resistant weeds in no-till fields, the problem still appears to be manageable. While some no-tillers are facing problems with resistant weeds, the resistance is not yet widespread.

The major worry among no-tillers is the potential resistance to Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides as the acreage of Roundup Ready crop technology continues to expand. While admitting that glyphosate resistance is possible, Monsanto’s David Heering says it is still rare and so far covers only a small number of acres.

Growing Concerns

Yet others believe that farmers will need to cut back on the acres of glyphosate herbicide crops that are no-tilled. As an example, Stephen Powles, a weed scientist at the University of Western Australia, maintains the weed resistance problem could develop into a worldwide crisis.

Some 8 years ago, Australia was the first to note that weed resistance to glyphosate was developing in rigid ryegrass. Growers in South Africa found the same problem 5 years later. Soon, farmers in Delaware found marestail plants that were developing a similar glyphosate resistance. In recent years, other states have seen similar concerns with marestail, waterhemp and velvetleaf.

There’s no doubt that no-tillers are concerned. In a survey of attendees at last winter’s 11th annual National No-Tillage Conference, 85 percent indicated that they expect weed resistance to be more of a problem in the next 2 years. Only 1 percent felt there would be less concerns, 5 percent don’t expect any changes and 9…

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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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