The spread of herbicide resistant weeds is a growing problem in many parts of the U.S. and a national team of weed scientists, economists and sociologists is working to develop effective approaches to address the increase in herbicide resistant weeds.
Beginning this month, the research team representing eight different universities will conduct a survey of farmers who grow a wide range of corn, soybean, cotton and sugar beet crops.
Farmers will be asked to take the time to fill out the survey and return it. The research team is seeking the help of farmers to better understand the causes and consequences of herbicide resistant weeds, and to learn more about the strategies farmers use to cope with them.
More resistant weeds
Mike Owen, an agronomy professor at Iowa State University, is leading the team.
"While herbicide resistance has existed for decades, the number of weed species with resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides has risen dramatically in recent years," Owen says.
As a result, more time and money are being spent on weed control, and farmers are faced with the likelihood of lower yields and profits unless changes in their weed management are implemented. Further, some conservation gains made with reduced or no tillage systems may be reversed.
With support from a USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant, the team seeks to gain a better understanding of the causes and consequences of herbicide resistant weeds, and the strategies farmers use to cope with them. The project also addresses barriers farmers face in adopting more diverse strategies for herbicide-resistant weed management.
Finding better answers >>
Finding better answers
As the people who are 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.
The survey will help the team better understand the human dimensions of herbicide resistance as well as how herbicide resistant weeds are spreading, Owen says.
"This survey will determine how farmers manage weeds on their farms, including the use of herbicides, tillage systems, crop rotation and other practices that have significant impacts on herbicide resistance," he adds. "Another focus of the survey is to identify social, economic and technological barriers that prevent farmers from using different weed management approaches."
Hoping for timely response
"Our team members would be most grateful if those people receiving their survey in the coming months would complete and return the survey in a timely fashion, Owen says.
In addition to Iowa State's Mike Owen, team members include Raymond Jussaume and Katherine Dentzman (Michigan State University), David Ervin (Portland State University ), Wes Everman (North Carolina State University), George Frisvold (University of Arizona), Jeffrey Gunsolus and Terry Hurley (University of Minnesota), Jason Norsworthy (University of Arkansas) and David Shaw (Mississippi State University).
If you have questions, contact Mike Owen at [email protected] or 515-294-5936.