As herbicide-resistant weeds become more prominent, sunflower growers have tools at their disposal to help combat their onslaught.
Bob Weigelt remembers the Golden Age of post-emergent weed control.
“Ten years ago, in most crops I could go out post-emergence, scout a field, and put a recipe together to clean that mess up. In one shot, we could get rid of whatever weeds were coming up,” says the Retail Market Manager for FMC based in Minot, N.D.
“That’s in our rear-view mirror now. Over the years we, as an industry, spent so much money on seed and traits. Diverting research dollars away from basic chemistry is coming back to bite us.” The newest mode of action used by growers was introduced in the early 1990s, he points out.
“As all our other technologies have progressed, we haven’t put a new mode of action on the market in a quarter-century. It’s hard to fathom, but it’s the reality we have to deal with.”
As several herbicide-resistant weeds creep toward states like North Dakota and threaten to affect sunflower growers, those same growers need to know three things about weed control as 2020 and the years beyond it approach.
According to Weigelt, weed control is about to get:
• More complicated. The days of using a single active to wipe out a variety of weeds are over.
• Less reliable. Growers can no longer rest easy knowing that a certain active is guaranteed to take care of their weed issues.
• More expensive. Cheap herbicide products that used to clean up fields with little effort have become less and less effective in doing so.
“New modes of action are in the queue, but they’re five to 10 years away. My piece of advice is to start mixing and matching some of the currently available modes of action to preserve the actives we have.”
Thankfully, products exist that do just this. To understand exactly how and why they work, we need to understand what weeds threaten growers.
For more information from Bob Weigelt of FMC and Ken Deibert of BASF on weed management check out their “New Weed Enemies Require New Weapons” article in the 2020 issue of Nuseed’s SUCCEED magazine.