Saturday, July 17, 2010

I don't wanna go there...

The last three days I have been working with Bayer in Memphis at an event called "Respect the Rotation". [More][More] There were research types, producers, dealers, a smattering of organizations and seed folks, and of course, lots of Bayer guys.

The focus was weed herbicide resistance. To be fair, while I was aware of a problem in the Mid-South with pigweed, I hadn't given the threat much thought for Prairie Township.

I do now.  And this is not just the Emcee fee speaking.

The personal epiphany occurs when you are talking to a AR grower whom you soon realize is every bit as professional as you (if not more) and listen to the story of his last three years and then...

YOU LOOK AT A FIELD OF PIGWEED that has laughed at quarts of glyphosate, ALS, and most of the herbicide arsenal.  Sweet mother of pearl, that is bad*** flora!

Suddenly that oddly persistent patch of giant ragweed, and the spot of lambsquarters look more ominous. In fact, just across the border in IN, giant ragweed resistance is more common than I thought.  Now throw in my now shopworn prediction for IL climate, and you have a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God realization.

Preventative measures of all kinds are a hard sell, because if you are successful...nothing good happens. Other than nothing bad happens. Which is hard to prove would have occurred otherwise.

Long story slightly less long, to quote that deeply spiritual Christmas carol, "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer":
"You may say there's no such thing as Santa, but as for me and grandpa, WE BELIEVE!"
It dawned me too that this could be an approach to handling volunteer corn in continuous corn, for example.  There were a few (ahem) issues with that around here this year.

Besides, with the residual I'm already putting down and a grass post to get the volunteer RR corn in beans, I could start working some glufosinate (Ignite/Liberty) and LibertyLink corn/beans into my rotation at pretty minimal cost, or at least one I could live with.

And so could whoever farms this ground twenty years from now.

This assumes I can get the genetics I want relatively "unstacked" which will probably mean ordering plenty early. It also means I (as in Aaron) need to devise a sailor-proof marking and mapping system to prevent unfortunate mistakes, but the mode-of-action (MOA) color labeling and cheap "bicycle" flags look feasible to me.

It also occurs to me there could a killer app opportunity in this that would require entering which MOA is loaded in the sprayer and would block nozzles where the right seed trait was not present by comparing to the planter map.

It won't matter if glyphosate is cheaper than water if it doesn't kill the weeds, and I think we're headed there faster than I ever imagined. We need to rotate to keep that tool useful.

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