Weeds work hard to develop resistance to specific herbicides and cultural practices, and they will ultimately become resistant unless a diverse weed management program is put in place, said Mike Owen, Ph.D., Iowa State University, weed scientist. He made a presentation in the Monsanto pavilion at Farm Progress Show.

Owen provided a short summary of a couple key points about weeds potentially winning against farmers.

“Without a diverse weed management program, anything that you do, whether it be a tillage system or specific herbicide or the combination of a herbicide resistant trait in the crop in combination with a herbicide, anything you do will inevitably fail simply because Mother Nature lets weeds adapt to anything we do in an agronomic system.

“This was proven, I think, many, many years ago by Charles Darwin when he was talking about origin of a species, selective pressure and how various species adapt to that selective pressure. In our case, we are spraying a specific herbicide repeatedly and that is all we are doing, and as predicted, the weeds will ultimately evolve resistance to that herbicide.

“Essentially what I was saying is that you need to diversify your weed management program. You need to use different herbicide mechanisms of action, you need to use different cultural practices, you need to consider how tillage and mechanical weed control fits into that program and try to come up with a best management practice that will keep the herbicide resistant weeds or weed population off balance, so that they are not able to adapt as Charles Darwin predicted.