This time of year is when farmers are making final decisions on cropping, seed varieties/hybrids, crop marketing and other things. With such important decisions in the balance, now is the time when farmers are making sure they have all the information available to make good decisions. Recently I had the chance to talk to the extension cotton specialist for the state of Mississippi – Darrin Dodds – after a presentation he gave on some of the hottest topics of discussion biotechnology and weed resistance.
Dodds kept the farmers in the room focused on what he was saying as he went through his presentation saying farmers needed to be actively thinking about weed management, particularly in light of resistance now, even though seed is not in the ground.
What Can a Farmer do?
Farmers are aware of control failures with Palmer amaranth in the Cotton Belt, according to Dodds. He says that this winter there has been increased interest in a program approach heading into the 2011 season. Some of the factors to consider are:
- Think about the big picture – yield and profitability – along with weed management. Varieties and technology are important considerations in the equation along with production practices and weed pressure on the farm and in the area last year.
- Weed resistance is an issue that needs to be addressed, even if a farmer has not seen it on his farm. Proactive weed management can help address future issues in the field.
- Look at the use of residual herbicides as part of the game plan. This is especially important where weeds like pigweeds are as the weed is so prolific.
- Build a flexible weed management plan and be prepared to have a “Plan B” that you can use if weather or something derails “Plan A.” A hooded sprayer or cultivation are the most likely backups.
What resources are available?
- Mississippi State has weed management recommendations and includes detailed recommendations for controlling palmer amaranth pigweed in cotton, corn and soybeans. Most other extension programs have localized recommendations that can be consulted too.
- The Benchmark Studies are a series of surveys examining grower weed management practices and university recommendations.
- Monsanto’s Weed Management website provides a number of elements including crop specific recommendations, practical suggestions for weed management and additional information about the Benchmark studies.