You may have only 3 years left. No, I'm not talking about attractive corn and soybean prices. I'm talking about something that could really eat away at your bottom line.
What's happening in the Delta and Mid-South with glyphosate resistance to pigweed is likely on the verge of happening in the Corn Belt with pigweed's cousin, waterhemp. At least, that's what one consultant told reporters attending last week's Respect The Rotation field day at Ames, Iowa.
Ford Baldwin, former University of Arkansas weed specialist, says the evidence of widespread glyphosate-resistant waterhemp at one field near Ellsworth, Iowa, during the Bayer CropScience-sponsored tour reminds him of the situation in the South 3 years ago.
Today, glyphosate-resistant pigweed is of such proportions that some farmers have moved away from no-till and are even hiring crews to hand-weed fields. That's not exactly the kind of economic stimulus anybody is interested in seeing.
When I heard Baldwin say the Midwest had 3 years to avoid a "train wreck," my first thought was that perhaps it's too late. And for some growers, it probably already is too late.
Officials at Syngenta Crop Protection have spent millions upon millions of dollars campaigning for a decade that rotating modes of action is critical to preserving glyphosate. Some farmers probably scoffed that it was just another company trying to make money on more expensive herbicides, then went out and made three applications of glyphosate to a crop.
Today, some of those growers are trying to control weeds with double to triple the rate of glyphosate they used to apply. (Keep in mind, there was a time when it was common to cut glyphosate rates, too.)
The bottom line is you better start hand-removing any weeds that escape glyphosate applications before they go to seed, and also start rotating other chemistries into your weed-control program. You don't need to go cold turkey on glyphosate, but start feeding your weeds a well-rounded diet of herbicides with differing modes of action. Hopefully, it's not too late.