Two billion dollars annually: Only a problem this large and costly could bring together private industry, universities from across the country and farmer-led organizations to provide farmers with answers.
That’s how much University of Wisconsin researcher Vince Davis estimates herbicide-resistant weeds cost U.S. farmers each year.
To help fight this loss, the soy checkoff recently took the lead in creating the Take Action program to help farmers implement production practices on their farms that can manage herbicide-resistant weeds. Universities and herbicide providers have joined the effort, and all are promoting a unified approach to weed management.
“Diversification is the most important thing farmers can do to manage these weeds,” says Davis. “This includes diversification of effective herbicide modes of action, diversified weed-management practices and also utilizing non-herbicide control options such as judicious tillage, cleaning equipment for weed seed and diversified crop rotations. Weeds develop resistance more quickly when production systems remain static.”
Take Action recently launched a website, www.TakeActionOnWeeds.com, with interactive guides and other information on how to diversify weed management.
“What makes the Take Action program unique is the support from all the different organizations, private industry and universities,” says Jim Call, United Soybean Board (USB) chairman and soybean farmer from Madison, Minn. “It really shows how big of an issue herbicide-resistant weeds are and how they impact all of agriculture.”
In addition to the checkoff, other supporters of the Take Action program include Cotton Incorporated, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Corn Growers Association, the United Sorghum Checkoff, BASF, Bayer, DuPont, Dow, Monsanto, Syngenta and universities throughout the United States.
The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.