Farmers have been getting regional opportunities to voice their concerns on how weed management techniques need to change in response to herbicide resistance.
Typically, scientists and regulators get their say, but the Weed Science Society of America feels that farmers get overlooked along the way. So the WSSA has been partnering with the United Soybean Board and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to host seven listening sessions to help give farmers a voice. Farmers across the nation are being invited to share their challenges, successes and opinions.
Several sessions have been held to date. The themes that have emerged from the participants reflect the complexity of herbicide resistance management and the breadth of viewpoints about what needs to be done.
- There remains an economic tradeoff between the decreased crop yields and increased long-term costs from resistant weeds versus the increased short-term costs of adopting resistance prevention practices. As a result, it is hard for growers to commit to resistance management early, before they have the problem. This is particularly true with low commodity crop prices.
- More research and education are still needed to help growers better manage their farms and the weed seed bank year round.
- There is an understanding that individuals cannot solve the problem themselves, but there is not a clear idea on how to work together.
- Zero tolerance policies for problematic, herbicide-resistant weeds should apply to everyone, including landowners, native seed producers and departments of transportation responsible for highway medians and rights of way.
- There is a scarcity of herbicides available to help growers of vegetable and specialty crops diversify weed control and battle herbicide resistance. Many hope researchers will develop new weed control chemistries with different mechanisms of action.
The dates or locations of the remaining sessions have not been noted by the WSSA, but keep your eyes and ears open in case one such session comes near you.