One result of modern agriculture and its reliance upon herbicides is the emergence of weed populations that are resistant to herbicides. Natural weed populations, regardless of the application of any herbicide, may contain individual plants (biotypes) resistant to herbicides.
Repeated use of any herbicide will expose weed populations to selection pressure that may lead to an increase in the number of surviving, resistant individuals in the population. Consequently, the resistant weed population may increase to the degree that adequate weed control can’t be achieved via the application of that herbicide. Through their effective use in combination with other weed control practices, herbicides are today, and will remain, an integral part of food production.
Monsanto recognizes weed resistance and provides farmers with the tools they need to recognize and address resistance challenges. The company has initiated field research to address resistance challenges and to assure the utility and long term sustainability of glyphosate and glyphosate’s use in connection with Roundup Ready technology.
Resistance is an industry-wide issue, and Monsanto participates in a global, industry-wide effort to support weed resistance identification and management, sharing the effort with BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Dow AgrowSciences, DuPont Crop Protection, Makheteshim Agan of North America, Syngenta Crop Protection, Valent and other companies around the world.
The terminology often used – “super-weeds” – is catchy and dramatic, but just how “super” are these weeds? Herbicide resistance is not new – weeds have adapted to virtually any weed control technology, including herbicides, for as long as farmers have controlled weeds. In addition there are current solutions to managing the weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and other herbicides.
On the farm, the principles of good weed management need to be applied to limit the emergence of resistance and to eliminate or control resistant weeds when they emerge locally, both to meet individual weed control needs and to limit the spread of resistant biotypes. In the natural environment, where herbicides are not applied, herbicide resistance is largely irrelevant – the weeds behave the way they always did.
Weed resistance: One farmer’s perspective
Video: Hearing from Dr. Bryan Young, Expert in Weed Resistance Management