Helping cultivate ideas and answers to weed resistance to herbicides is why Bayer CropScience and its university partners have scheduled 12 Respect the Rotation field day events for 2012 at research facilities and farms throughout the Midwest and South. It is the third year for these field-day events, but the topic isn’t old or worn out because weed resistance continues to dramatically increase.

The descriptive announcement of the field days paints a picture that should worry any farmer. “In a growing number of fields across the country, herbicide-resistant weeds are towering over valuable crops, their branches dripping thousands of stubborn seeds that if left unchecked will infest fields and choke out profits for years to come. In the Mid-South, crews of workers are chopping pigweed that resemble small trees.”

The common sights in the Mid-South are threatening to become commonplace in the Midwest. And with plenty of scary wording to try and motivate action by farmers and their third-party influencers, the Bayer CropScience announcement also suggests “more than at any time in our history, farmers must manage for weed control or face the loss of productivity, sustainability and their legacy to future generations.”

The full explanation of what Respect the Rotation provides was worded as follows: “Respect the Rotation promotes rotation of crops, herbicide-tolerant traits and herbicide modes of action to encourage greater diversity in herbicide programs and reinforce the principles of integrated weed management. These in-field, in-season forums allow farmers and industry experts to bring the lab to the field and learn the real impact of weed resistance issues. They explore solutions spanning a multitude of arenas and technologies designed to allow farmers to fight back. The initiative aims to help change mindsets and management practices to help sustain profitability and longevity for farmers, as well as maintain the value and effectiveness of current herbicide programs and trait technologies.”

Bayer CropScience reports more than 1,000 farmers, retailers and crop consultants attended a Respect the Rotation field day last year and saw the impact that herbicide-resistant weeds can have on farming operations.

“Respect The Rotation was launched by Bayer to elevate the crisis of weed resistance in the U.S.,” explained Andy Hurst, trait product manager for Bayer CropScience. “Weeds resistant to glyphosate and other herbicides are a huge threat, not only to weed management, but also to efficient production of row crops. Farmers need to stay ahead of this curve, adopt good weed management practices like rotation of the LibertyLink trait into their crop production plans, and hopefully preserve the value of technologies they have currently available to them.

Again this summer field events will be held in both the Midwest and the South.

“Southern events are scheduled for Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina, where the continued spread of glyphosate-tolerant Palmer amaranth – which can grow two or more inches per day – threatens traditional row crop production in a very big way. Southern farmers continue to focus on rotation and prevention,” Bayer CropScience noted.

“Midwest events will be held at sites in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota where glyphosate-resistant waterhemp, giant ragweed, kochia and other weeds are the cause of increasing damage for farmers across the Corn Belt. In addition, weed resistance to other herbicide modes of action and weeds with multiple resistance present another layer of problems for which Midwest farmers are desperate to find a solution,” the company further suggested.

The scale of the problem in Illinois was pointed out by Pat Tranel, weed scientist with the University of Illinois. “We did survey work to determine what is the incidence of glyphosate resistance in waterhemp, as well as the incidence of multiple resistance to two other herbicides. Glyphosate resistance was confirmed in 83 percent of the fields [in Illinois] where resistance was suspected, and that’s not real surprising. The bottom line is if you suspect you have resistance to glyphosate, you probably do. You probably also have resistance to ALS inhibitors, and you have a one-in-three chance of also having resistance to PPO inhibitors,” he said.

Dates and locations of the 12 Respect the Rotation field days are as follows:

Big Springs, Neb. - University of Nebraska

July 11

David City, Neb. - University of Nebraska

July 12

Holloway, Minn.

July 17

Tuscola, Ill.

July 24

Mt. Olive, NC

Aug. 8

Collinsville, Ill. *

Aug. 15

Columbia City, Ind.

Aug. 21

Brownsburg, Ind.

Aug. 23

Ellsworth, Iowa

Sept. 11

Registration for one of the days can be done by visiting http://events.signup4.com/respecttherotation2012.