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Research Team Surveys Farmers about Herbicide Resistance and Weed Management

By Staff | Dec 17, 2015

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AMES (ISU) – The spread of herbicide resistant weeds is a growing problem in many parts of the United States.

Although herbicide resistance has existed for decades, the number of weed species with resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides has risen dramatically in recent years.

As a result, more time and money are being spent on weed control. In addition to lower yields and profits for farmers, some conservation gains that have been accomplished with reduced or no tillage systems may also be reversed unless changes in weed management are implemented.

An interdisciplinary team of weed scientists, economists and sociologists, led by Mike Owen, anIowa State University Extension weed specialist, are working to develop effective approaches to address this growing problem of herbicide resistant weeds.

With support from a USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant, the team will conduct a survey of 10,000 farmers who manage a wide-range of corn, soybean, cotton and sugar beet enterprises.

From this survey, the team hopes to gain a better understanding of the causes and consequences of herbicide resistant weeds, and the strategies farmers are using to cope with them.

Another focus of the survey is to identify social, economic and technological barriers that prevent farmers from using different weed management approaches.

“As the people on the front lines of herbicide resistance, farmers have a unique experience and understanding of the problem and the opportunities for cost-effective approaches, which makes the information they can provide so critical for effectively responding to the herbicide resistant weed problem,” said Owen.

The survey will help the team better understand the human dimensions of herbicide resistance and how herbicide resistant weeds are spreading. It will determine how farmers manage weeds, including the use of herbicides, tillage systems, crop rotation, and other practices that have significant impacts on herbicide resistance.

The survey will be conducted in November and December with follow-up telephone interviews in January. Team members would be most grateful if those receiving their survey in the coming months would complete and return the survey in a timely fashion. Results of the survey will be presented next spring.

In addition to Mike Owen, team members include Raymond Jussaume and Katherine Dentzman of Michigan State University; David Ervin of Portland State University; Wes Everman of North Carolina State University; George Frisvold of University of Arizona; Jeffrey Gunsolus and Terry Hurley of University of Minnesota; Jason Norsworthy of University of Arkansas; and David Shaw of Mississippi State University. Anyone with questions should contact Mike Owen at mdowen@iastate.edu or (515) 294-5936.

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