Herbicide-resistant weeds are a growing global problem. The official opening of Bayer CropScience’s Weed Resistance Competence Center (WRCC) in Frankfurt, Germany on Nov. 19 is a major step forward in tackling weed resistance, as it will develop new weed control strategies, and share knowledge within the global community of farmers, agronomists and scientists.
Understanding weed resistance and improving weed control solutions
As a scientific institution, the WRCC will act as Bayer CropScience’s global reference center for weed resistance management. The core activities of its 12 full-time personnel cover three areas: understanding weed resistance mechanisms and their evolution in the field; developing and testing new weed control strategies; and sharing Bayer CropScience’s knowledge and weed control solutions with the entire value chain. "Bayer clearly recognizes the threat weed resistance poses to our business and to agriculture in general," says Harry Strek, Head of WRCC. To date, 238 weeds have developed resistance to common herbicides, diminishing yields by up to 70 percent. "The WRCC will help us learn from the past and develop solutions that secure harvests in the long run," he continues. To this end, Bayer is actively promoting partnerships with scientists and other stakeholders worldwide.
Project work in Europe, the U.S. and Australia
Bayer weed scientists are focusing on resistance projects in 44 countries across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. In the U.S. they are investigating population genetics and resistance mechanisms in Palmer Amaranth, a particularly difficult-to-control type of weed, and in Australia metabolic resistance in Lolium (ryegrass). Looking ahead, WRCC head Harry Strek is planning to further broaden cooperation and dialog with external partners.
Integrated crop solutions
The WRCC is part of a holistic approach to weed management and supports Bayer CropScience’s strategy of developing integrated crop solutions for sustainable agriculture. "Our continued investment in research and development in this discipline will pay off by delivering efficient and long-term solutions for weed control," Harry Strek points out. "We not only recommend the optimal use of certain herbicides, but we also strongly support the adoption of integrated weed management practices that include the best crop rotations, soil tillage practices and crop planting densities."
For a virtual tour of the WRCC simply visit our Bigger Picture at http://wrcc.thebiggerpicture.bayer.com/