In advance of the National Research Council’s (NRC) May 10 National Summit on Strategies to Manage Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Washington, D.C., CropLife America (CLA) and the Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC) reinforce their commitment to finding and communicating solutions to weed management and herbicide-resistant weeds. Tomorrow’s one-day summit will bring weed scientists, agronomists, ecologists, representatives from the crop protection industry, and regulators to address the obstacles that herbicide resistance presents to U.S. agricultural production, and the development of cost-effective resistance management programs and practices that maintain effective weed control. Dr. John Soteres, Global HRAC chair and scientific affairs global weed resistance management lead at Monsanto, will speak on a panel to address the approaches that encourage the adoption of best management practices. Other speakers include Dr. David Shaw (Mississippi State University); Dr. Harold Coble (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service); Dr. Micheal Owen (Iowa State University); and Dr. Jodie Holt (University of California-Riverside), who are slated to discuss topics ranging from the epidemiology of herbicide tolerance to the nature of the resistance problem.
“Events such as NRC’s summit help to bring those in the agricultural and scientific communities together to develop new approaches for implementing advanced solutions to mitigate herbicide resistance on the farm,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Weed adaptation is not new to agriculture and will continue to occur, but providing the country’s farmers and ranchers with a reliable and effective suite of products and techniques to create an integrated weed management program will help them control and better manage this phenomenon.”
One of the most important steps in fighting and preventing weed resistance is applicator education and training. HRAC, an industry-based group that facilitates the effective management of herbicide resistance by promoting understanding, cooperation and communication between industry, academia, government and farmers, aims to educate the agricultural community and incorporate best practice strategies for resistance management. In addition to the committee’s outreach programs and materials, HRAC also collaborated with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) in developing training modules addressing herbicide resistance education. These training modules are used to help consultants, field advisors and agronomists adopt proactive management practices in addition to the implementation of a diversified program which minimizes or addresses the progression of weed resistance.
The implementation of diversified weed management programs is the basis for recommendations by both public and private sector weed scientists. This may include recommendations to:
- Use multiple herbicides with different mechanisms of action that are active on the same weed species, particularly those that are most troublesome or prone to evolution of herbicide resistance;
- Combine herbicides with agronomic or cultural practices such as crop rotation, optimum variety selection/planting rates, nutrient placement, and appropriate tillage to provide a comprehensive approach to weed management;
- Apply full labeled herbicide rates at recommended weed sizes.
Some other common-sense management practices that farmers can use to help manage this issue include: understanding the biology of the weeds present, planting into weed‐free fields and then keeping fields as free from weeds as possible, routinely scouting fields, and managing weed seed at harvest and post-harvest to prevent a buildup of the weed seedbank.
“HRAC understands that herbicide-resistant weeds are a serious issue for U.S. agriculture, and we are committed to working with a number of stakeholders to develop the best solutions and effective farmer communications and education programs,” said Dr. Soteres. “To spread awareness, HRAC supports retailer, dealer and farmer educational efforts and our WSSA training is only one example of our dedication to developing a multi-pronged approach to alleviating herbicide resistance.”
It is crucial for farmers to adopt best management practices on a local level, and implement the techniques that work best for their specific environment and situation. Given the varying farming practices and different weeds around the country and the need for practices to be localized, federal regulation of the issue would not be appropriate and may actually limit the efforts to encourage farmers to adopt best management practices. Dr. David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development at Mississippi State University and a speaker at the NRC summit, supports the notion of regional best management practice implementation. “Given the multitude of factors that contribute to resistance management, federal regulation would not be an ideal fit,” said Shaw. “Regulatory agencies would face an uphill battle in imposing regulations that may not consistently help on a region-by-region basis.”
To read more about NRC’s National Summit on Strategies to Manage Herbicide-Resistant Weeds, visit www.nas-sites.org/hr-weeds-summit. To learn more about HRAC, visit www.hracglobal.com/Home/tabid/121/Default.aspx.