Rotating crops is practiced by most Indiana farmers, but rotating herbicides is now also part of the program. Five years ago, Bayer Crop Science started a program to encourage growers to rotate herbicide modes of action to address the issue of weed resistance. Arlene Cotie heads Bayer’s Respect the Rotation program and says grower awareness of the issue has improved, “Five years ago we had only about 2% of growers that cared about weed resistance, but recent survey data shows us that today 58% of growers said they had glyphosate resistance.” The survey was of 3,500 farmers representing 83 million acres.
Bayer’s message is simple: rotation is not just for crops, “When you rotate your crops think about rotating your herbicide tolerance and when you rotate your herbicide tolerance, you rotate your modes of action to combat weeds,” Cotie stated. Bayer has also combined their efforts with the United Soybean Board to support the Take Action campaign, which encourages growers to take action to slow the spread of resistant weeds.
While rotation is a key component in managing weed resistance, it is not the only tool. Cotie says research is being done to find ways to deal with weeds other than using chemicals. She one project is aimed at better understanding fall weed seed control, “Looking at what weeds are present at harvest and what seeds are viable, and what can be done to reduce that harvest weed seed bank.” She says the research is focusing on tools that are outside the herbicide jug from controlling weeds.
Respect the Rotation will be having several field days here in Indiana this year. Watch for details here on HAT.