Ag retailers play a critical role in Best Management Practices for herbicides

Stratus Ag Research surveyed 803 farmers from the Midwest and southern states to determine their knowledge of BMPs, attitudes about weed resistance and how they are adapting their farming practices to deal with this issue.

June 3, 2014

Luckily, in today’s information age, there’s no shortage of ways to get your message heard. This is particularly important when it comes to sharing best management practices (BMPs) for on-farm challenges like staying one step ahead of herbicide-resistant weeds. It’s hard to know if the message is getting through, which is why, now more than ever, ag retailers play a critical role.

When it comes to BMPs for weed management, awareness is high, but understanding and implementation is complicated. Farmers reported that they employ a variety of technologies and practices to manage weed resistance, including:

  • Crop rotation
  • Rotation of herbicide groups from year to year
  • Some tillage
  • Use of multiple herbicide groups in the same year
  • Spraying early using pre-plant (burndown) or pre-emergent herbicides

Farmers are taking action

Stratus Ag Research surveyed 803 farmers from the Midwest and southern states to determine their knowledge of BMPs, attitudes about weed resistance and how they are adapting their farming practices to deal with this issue.

“We have been conducting an annual glyphosate resistance tracking study in the US since 2010. In that time we have seen the number of farmers reporting glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm double from 25.4 per cent in 2010 to 51.3 per cent in 2013,” says Michael Reidy of Stratus Ag Research. “This spring we wanted to take the survey one step further in order to understand what practices are being implemented on the farm to deal with this relatively new problem.”

From this new study about 65 per cent of farmers indicate that they take proactive steps to manage those resistant populations. While implementation of BMPs for controlling herbicide-resistant weed populations is fairly high, there is always room for improvement.

Of the above listed BMPs, some 60 per cent of producers say they practice crop rotation. Another 45 per cent of respondents say that they rotate their herbicide groups from year to year.

In fact, when planning crop rotations, rotating herbicides to avoid resistance issues is the top factor mentioned. Farmers said they also consider commodity pricing and ways to mitigate financial risk.

Interestingly, while 73 per cent of growers have a herbicide rotation plan, only 18 per cent believe that they know a lot about herbicide groups and their different modes of action. How then are these plans being generated? And who is responsible for helping the farmer?

The survey reveals not only the importance to American farmers of having a herbicide rotation plan, but also the critical role that ag retailers play in assisting those farmers in the adoption of best management practices on the farm. Nearly half – 45.1 per cent – of respondents indicated that either a retailer or a crop advisor helped plan their herbicide program.

Since ag retailers and crop consultants are viewed as the most credible information source about weed resistance, they play a critical role in educating the farmer as to implementing a herbicide rotation plan on-farm.

“Ag retailers have a great opportunity in their role as trusted advisors to actively help farmers combat weed resistance,” says Reidy.


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