Practices Need to Evolve to Beat Resistance

Corn growers regularly fight invasive weed species like this Palmer amaranth.

Last year was tough for Caleb Hamer and his father. Their northeast Iowa farm fields dealt with blow after blow Mother Nature sent, which lead to missed treatments, wild weeds and lost yield.

“Whether it was our fault or the weather’s fault we didn’t do an adequate job of weed control last year, especially in soybeans,” Hamer says. Since he knows they’ve built up a more challenging weed seed bank he’s being more strategic with pre and post-emergent chemistries to gain control.

“This is the first time since Roundup Ready soybeans came out that we won’t have any on our farm,” he says. “We have all LibertyLink or Xtend soybeans.”

In addition to managing his own corn and soybean acres Hamer is a partner in B&H Ag Services that provides about 35,000 acres of custom spraying each year. His family is one of many who have made the switch from Roundup Ready to newer technology.

It will be important this year to not only follow label guidelines to avoid off-target damage, but to properly steward these technologies and avoid building more resistance. Critical lessons Hamer learned through experience and mandatory dicamba training.

“We’re doing what we can on our end—we’re layering residuals with pre and post applications in addition to using Liberty or Xtend,” Hamer says. “If we keep rotating chemistries we’ll keep these tools viable as long as possible.”

He wants to see more farmers following in his footsteps to avoid creating greater resistance issues. As an applicator he and you have the opportunity to inform farmers on how to best steward this new technology.