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View from the Cab: A weedy situation

U of I's Aaron Hager talks to farmers at BCS last week / CIFN photo.

Farmers are always thinking about those pesky weeds…even in December.

Dr. Aaron Hager with the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois spoke to local farmers last week during the annual BCS chemical meeting at Arrowsmith. He noted Illinois is a leader in the number of unique cases of herbicide resistant weeds with the current total at 27.

There is now resistance to waterhemp in seven different classes of herbicides. I can’t believe I just mentioned the “w” word this time of year.

“There is nothing new we have seen in the pipeline in the last 10 years,” Hager explained.

The most important management factors are herbicide-related. This includes mixing effective herbicides and not rotating them. Mixing works because it is mathematical, according to Hager.

“We like really low numbers when we talk about frequencies of resistance.”

Two components to resistance management include reducing the number of weeds exposed to herbicides and not allowing a herbicide-resistant individual to reproduce. These resistant weeds are starting to mimic corn since they break down chemicals so quickly that they are not toxic to the plant.

Populations of waterhemp seeds will plummet if you can prevent seed production. This stuff has become dangerous, according to Hager.

“There is no one side, fits all approach to it,” Hager said.

A rye cover crop can help with weed situations, especially if the crop is rolled prior to planting. Also, John Deere is developing a harvest weed seed control unit which will soon be available on combines. This should help prevent weeds from even starting in a field.

Hager’s talk was very interesting yet scary at the same time. Sounds like there is no good answer to solve the weed resistance problem but we can all do our part to try and help the situation.

(The View from the Cab blog is powered each week by Petersen Motors in Fairbury)

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