I happened to be in one of the fields Johnny Dodson farms near Four Points, Tennessee with soybean farmers from the Midwest who came down south to see the issues on weed resistance that Johnny and his neighbors are facing.
Standing alongside a bus that’s pulled off the road to let people out into a cotton or soybean field is surely the way to draw attention. And although Johnny’s fairly humble about this sort of thing, he also knows he has a unique chance to help some farmers get more proactive on weed management.
He knows complacency is easy to let set in based on the efficacy of Roundup, the fact that it is relatively inexpensive and controls a broad-spectrum of weeds in several crops. But the fact is “nature will make a selection and if you keep doing the same thing, time after time, you will develop a weed species that is resistant or tolerant to that particular herbicide.
“What we’ve learned here is for farmers to be proactive,” he says. “There are lots of different modes of action with herbicides available to producers, start using those today. Start changing your modes of action. Rotate crops is another part of that.”
Sometimes there are other factors that drive decisions and Johnny points out that it’s understandable, but various crop protection products as well as agronomic practices like crop rotation and tillage provide options that should be considered. “There are options available and farmers need to be proactive in using those options and tools that are available to them.”
To encourage farmers to consider some of the options, Monsanto has a number of efforts in the U.S. where it is working with extension weed scientists, industry associations, and others. A number of educational tools have been worked on through multi-state taskforces and the effort took a major step forward with the Roundup Ready Plus platform.
Weed specialists across the U.S. looked at some of the crops experiencing herbicide resistant weed problems and devised a program approach to either stay ahead of selection pressure or tackle resistance issues where they were occurring. The program includes recommendations of products outside of Monsanto’s portfolio as well as incentives to encourage growers to put the recommendations to work on their farms.
A group of farmers who have been using Roundup Ready Plus recommendations and incentives for the 2010 crop season provide their feedback & insight in this video.