Lessons from Weeds Week
Prevention and management of herbicide resistance in weeds has been a common topic of discussion in recent years, and with good reason. In the 2014 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, Iowa State University rural sociologist J. Arbuckle found that the development of herbicide resistance was the item of most concern to farmers. (See Page 3 of “Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll: Farmer Perspectives on Pesticide Resistance” found at .)
While preventing herbicide resistance may cost more than not worrying about it, preventing resistance is more economical than dealing with it after it occurs. And once resistance occurs, it will remain in the field forever. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Iowa State University promotes long-term weed management strategies that include mechanical and cultural techniques, along with the use of full rates of herbicides effective against the weeds present, applied with the proper timing and technique. Multiple effective herbicide groups (sites of action) should be in the strategy. But how do you “put wheels under it?”
ISU conducted workshops at five locations around the state in early August. We called it “Weeds Week.” ISU Extension field agronomists provided several online tools and other information to assist farmers and their crop advisers with the logical creation and implementation of long-term resilient weed management strategies. So what did we learn from the workshops?
Attendees reported an increase in their ability to properly identify weeds, which is crucial, but clearly we still have a ways to go. Coincidentally, ISU just released the second edition of the Weed Identification Field Guide, which can be ordered from .
About half of the attendees at the field days said they felt very comfortable recognizing which herbicides were effective at controlling specific weeds, calculating the amount of active ingredients applied per acre, and comparing the amount of active ingredient applied in a premix to the amount applied with single active ingredient product. But about half still were a little uncomfortable with these tasks.
Develop an effective plan
Most farmers said they felt very comfortable with discussing a herbicide plan with their dealers, but felt less comfortable with developing their plan by themselves. About half of the dealers indicated they were very comfortable in designing or assisting a customer in designing a multiyear plan.
Attendees indicated high levels of satisfaction with the workshops but indicated a need for more education and more tools (videos, worksheets, apps, etc.) related to herbicide resistance management. ISU is planning to repeat the workshops in 2016 and is exploring other methods of making this education available. ISU is also in the early stages of planning a “Level II” educational activity for 2016.
Meanwhile, two valuable resources are the ISU Weed Science website, and the Crops Knowledgebase at . Here, weed-related items are in three of the tabs at the top of the page. On the left there are three stacked horizontal lines; clicking on the stack will allow you to select from many topics, including weed management. Weed management is also in the ICM News tab and in the ISU Crops Blog tab.
This article published in the October, 2015 edition of WALLACES FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2015.