About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Monsanto Adds Agricultural Biologicals to R&D Pipeline Featured Article

Monsanto understands that agriculture is constantly evolving and is influenced by broad societal trends. Farmers need new tools that allow them to maintain productivity—in the face of climate change, and the challenges of weed and insect resistance to current methods of control—while simultaneously minimizing the impact on the environment. Consumers want healthy and abundant food grown in a responsible way and seek transparency about the way food is produced.

Our people listened to these concerns and in 2012, we expanded our R&D pipeline to include agricultural biologicals, a category of sustainable crop protection solutions made from materials found in nature … Full Article »

Resources on Weed Resistance

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 … Full Article »

Farmers Learning from Each Other

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 … Full Article »

weed free soybean field

What's a Farmer to Do When Weed Resistance Threatens the Farm?

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 … Full Article »

Tennessee Johnny Dodson

On the Farm with Tennessee Farmer Johnny Dodson

This trip was long overdue. I’ve been lucky enough to talk to Halls, Tennessee farmer Johnny Dodson several times before – I vividly remember some Midwestern soybean farmers borrowing a cotton boll to show Johnny he wasn’t the only cotton person in Kansas City for a meeting and other chances to talk with him about how things were going on the farm or his ideas on topics of current interest.

Each time, Johnny said I should visit the farm sometime. I meant to do it for years so when someone was headed out on vacation & I heard there was … Full Article »

Managing Weeds…Now

By Mike Burger,
eCommunications Team

Dave Rhylander, marketing lead for Deltapine Cotton, has spent years talking to cotton farmers. Most recently the discussions have been about farmers not being able to take advantage of a technology they’ve depended on for years to manage weeds – how it’s affecting them, and are there solutions on the horizon.

Rhylander talks about a recent experience he had with his mobile device and how it relates to the technology loss farmers are dealing with now.

“A lot of people have mobile devices with many functions – making phone calls, checking email, texting, and … Full Article »

Impacts Flooding and Levee Breaks Have on Farms

Last May, Tennessee had flash-flooding conditions which caused some levees to break (see post and video here). We had a chance to visit Bob Walker in Somerville at the time to see how his cotton, corn and soybean farm would recuperate. Yesterday, Bob and I talked about some of the issues farmers will be facing with throughout the Mississippi River basin. Listen to interview with TN Farmer Bob_Walker_on flooding & levee breaks.

Some of the highlights Bob covers include:

  • The impacts are further reaching than 2011 and 2012. He feels the recovery will be several years and the implications
Full Article »
wet field

Rain Delay Provides Weed Management Training Time

With the wet weather that’s crossing much of the middle of the country, farmers may be finding themselves in the field less than they would like. The progress that was underway has been stopped much like a rain delay in a favorite team’s baseball game. So, time normally spent on field work and planting is being spent indoors. I’ve talked to farmers who are spending time working on their websites, and others who are working on equipment in their shops. One other thing people may want to give additional attention to, is the farm’s weed management plan.

As we discussed … Full Article »

Biotech and Weed Resistance Learnings

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 … Full Article »

Roundup-Resistant "Superweeds" In the News

It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's SUPERWEED!

There was a story today in the New York Times (“Farmers Cope with Roundup-Resistant Weeds”) about glyphosate-resistant weeds, or as the headline states – Roundup-resistant weeds. (Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Its success has made the two interchangeable similar to the case of facial tissue and the brand name Kleenex).

This is the second story in recent weeks about “superweeds,” as the mainstream media has sensationally dubbed the weed resistance issue.

Overall the NYT story talks about the positive contributions of biotechnology on weed control—increase in no-tillFull Article »