Since around 1998, most U.S. cotton and soybean crops, and then later corn crops, have been treated for weed control with an herbicide commonly referred to by its brand name Roundup.
While the use of Roundup, or Glyphosate, was very successful for a long time, some weeds are becoming Roundup resistant.
If you’ve driven through area crop land in recent weeks, you now have the explanation for the crews hoeing in the fields you may have seen.
“It was so efficient, so economical, that we came to the point that this was the only herbicide used, so we were continually treating these particular weeds with a single herbicide that has a single mode of action.”
Steve Perrone is a crop consultant, and says the use of Roundup or Glyphosate was hugely successful.
“We became a little over confident, and we began to delay some of our herbicide applications so that we might catch more weeds with that application, and we were allowing our weeds to become larger, and larger before we applied our herbicide and we began then, to have escapes.”
Waterhemp was one of the weeds that had survivors that reproduced.
“If you look at some of these areas where you see these carcasses of waterhemp, you may find some very stunted little cotton plants, and those indeed were stunted because they could not compete with the waterhemp.”
The farmer growing cotton in these fields brought in crews with hoes.
“I don’t know that it’s going to be a viable option, simply because the manpower is no longer really there. I’m surprised that Mike found as many people as he found to come out here and work in his fields.”
Perrone stresses that farmers are in the early stages of dealing with this problem, and that it will be necessary to employ some of the older technologies with the newer ones.
“They still control this thing, and we’re going to have to catch these things when they’re very small, apply some of the alternate technologies that are available to us, and I think we can do this but it’s going to increase the cost of the weed control program pretty dramatically.”
And as volatile as the cotton market is, a big increase in input costs is not welcome news. I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.