Farmers need to “get out of their comfort zone”
Resistance management as a component of integrated pest management.
IPM has always stressed the tactical approach of using pesticides only when and where they are needed. Taking the process the next step includes rotation of classes of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and other pest control strategies, and a higher level of understanding to be able to select control options that will allow you to rotate pesticide modes of action to help to stave off resistance. Tools such as the “Corn and Soybean Herbicide Chart” printed by University of Wisconsin Extension make the tedious job of researching herbicides by mode of action as easy as sorting potential programs at a glance by color. FRAC codes listed on fungicides can help you to design programs that reduce reliance on a single mode of action.
The more challenging job of sorting out issues such as level of control for the weed species or insects that you have in your fields, maximum weed and crop heights, and potential for crop injury still needs to be done before pesticide program selections are made. Michigan State University Extension bulletin E-434, “Weed Control Guide for Field and Forage Crops,” or E-1582, “Insect and Nematode Control in Field and Forage Crops,” do an excellent job of putting this information in a format that makes it easy for growers to evaluate the options and develop pest management programs to help reduce the chance of pests developing pesticide resistance. For most growers, this means investing more time in broadening our understanding of potential pesticide programs and the crop management strategies used in our field crop operations. That can definitely take us out of our comfort zone, but with increasing incidences of pesticide resistance showing up across the country, managing to delay or prevent resistant pests may soon be one of the most cost-effective decisions we can make for our operations.
Bruce Mackellar is a Michigan State University Extension field crops educator. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Timeline of Michigan Field Crop Pest Resistance
Triazine-resistant lambsquarters 1975
Common ragweed (atrazine) 1990
Rotation-resistant WCR beetles 1996
Common ragweed (ALS inhibitors) 1998
Waterhemp (ALS inhibitors) 2000
Lambsquarters (ALS inhibitors) 2001
Horseweed (ALS inhibitors) 2002
Velvetleaf (atrazine) 2004
Giant foxtail (ALS inhibitors) 2006
Horseweed (glyphosate) 2007
Palmer amaranth (Gly+ ALS) 2011
Source: WSSA International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds
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