I have had several interesting responses to a recent article about pigweed resistance and the use of LibertyLink soybeans.
Several have called to relate their experiences with LibertyLink soybeans this year. Others have called to describe what they were attempting to do to head off glyphosate resistance and asked if I thought they would “be ok.”
I have had other calls and comments on what has been observed with Palmer pigweeds in the field and the fact they were getting more difficult to control.
I also received comments from industry representatives regarding my comments on new traits and stacked traits saying those technologies are projected in the 2013-14 timeframe.
Hopefully that makes the point that we cannot continue to do the same things we have been doing just because new technology is on the way. We must use the tools we have now so we are still in business when some of the things in the pipeline get here.
It is obvious the grower awareness level on resistant weeds is increasing, but a lot of growers still have the attitude that “it won’t happen to me.”
Hopefully none of my comments about glyphosate resistance or the use of new technology such as LibertyLink soybeans are ever interpreted as being negative toward Roundup Ready technology. There is no bigger fan of the Roundup Ready technology than me.
One of the most rewarding experiences I had in my career with the University of Arkansas was being in on the ground floor of the development of this technology. Heck, my enthusiasm about the technology has likely contributed to the resistance problems we are seeing today.
There is no telling how many articles I have written with the theme of “Roundup every Monday morning until there is nothing out there but soybeans” or “the best tank mix partner with Roundup is more Roundup.” That made soybean farming so easy that even I could probably have done it.
Everyone is spoiled and nobody wants to change his program. To me that is the best reason that you need to change your program. We simply cannot continue to abuse and lose this miracle technology.
I am very tuned in to the Palmer pigweed situation because I was hit between the eyes with it several times in my career. I did not believe we had a resistance problem with Treflan years ago. I had to get embarrassed in front of a group of farmers before I went out and found out for myself.
I thought we had “cut a fat hog” when we found out how good Scepter was on pigweed and the technology essentially lasted two years before ALS resistance took it out. Now I consider all of the pigweed populations in Arkansas ALS resistant. While they all may not be, resistance is so prevalent you have to make the assumption they are.
Roundup Ready provided the first technology to be able to go out and truly kill pigweeds instead of just trying to manage them. That is reason enough to preserve the technology.
The other reason is the pigweed population is so explosive. I mentioned seed production in recent article. They can simply take a field in a couple of years. One farmer told me the other day, “Bring back cockleburs — they were easy to fight compared to these @$$#@#$ pigweeds!”
When growers ask me if their resistance management program is adequate, I usually ask if they are doing everything they can do. I do not think you can stay in your comfort zone and be successful over the long haul.
The resistance management programs that will be the most successful over the longest period of time are those that utilize the most options in terms of both alternate crops and alternate herbicide programs.
I believe LibertyLink crops must play a part in that mix. Ignite herbicide brings a new mode of action to the program with the same broad spectrum over-the-top ease of use as glyphosate.
The programs that stay ahead of the weeds will be those that utilize a good mix of both technologies along with conventional herbicides and good rotations with corn and rice, both Clearfield and conventional.