In a previous post, we learned a bit about Johnny Dodson and his Halls, Tennessee farm. In that post, things at the farm may have seemed idyllic. As he talked, the birds chirped and all seemed right with the world. But reality is, Johnny is in the epicenter of weed resistance. Having grown 30 crops (2011 is his thirty-first and he’s working to make it a success), Johnny says he has seen various weed shifts and challenges presented to him.
Johnny says he’s seen discussion of glyphosate-resistant weeds in the media and he certainly realizes resistance is a significant issue on farms in his area. Driving down the highways, it is fairly easy to spot pigweed going to seed in the area. The reality that many are resistant to glyphosate has been something Johnny’s dealt with first-hand for a number of years.
“As a farmer, I take pride in the way my fields look. I would like to have a weed-free field. My landlords that I work for, they like to be able to brag on their crop and how good the crop looks,” he says.
But Johnny thinks people need to understand that being weed-free is more than putting his pride at stake. “There is an economic issue involved. Maintaining a weed-free field allows you to increase production. The more weeds you have out there, the more competition you have for the sun, the water and the nutrients that are available in the soil.”
Being able to manage resistance issues on his farm, Johnny doesn’t like the terminology some people use “some people have used the terminology ‘superweed.’ I don’t agree with that. I truly think we have been and will continue to be able to manage the weed shifts.”
His decades of experience have shown to Johnny that weed species shift and present challenges and leads farmers to consider which tools, including tillage, best address the issue at hand. He says the broad spectrum effectiveness of Roundup agricultural herbicide and the active ingredient glyphosate is what has made it such a great tool.
The challenge with a few glyphosate-resistant weeds is different because the herbicide remains so effective on so many other species. Johnny explains the tool remains a part of his farm’s weed management because it works so well for him saying “Roundup Ready crops afford producers one of the most beneficial herbicides there is in the marketplace. And still, yet today, even though there are some weeds out there with some tolerance or resistance to it, the efficacy of that particular herbicide is head and shoulders above the options that are available to us.”