Monday, February 27, 2012

No wonder...  

Farmers don't buy into climate change. We'd rather manage by crisis.
Glyphosate has failed on the driver weeds due to lack of diversity in our weed management programs and the fact nobody has been willing to change programs until it was too late.
Now we have the LibertyLink, which is excellent technology. Preserving the effectiveness of glufosinate (Liberty or Ignite) and the LibertyLink technology is critical to weed control for the near future. What are doing with that technology? Essentially everything we can do drive it off the cliff before we get a chance to find out how really good it is. We are only switching to this technology after glyphosate has stopped working, continuing our pattern of using up one technology and going to Plan B. And first-year users often struggle because they try to use it like they used glyphosate in Roundup Ready crops —with no diversity in the program.
How long will the technology last under these circumstances? My fear is not long enough. We cannot seem to get to the next step — switching systems, adding diversity or switching cultural practices in fields where what you are doing is still working fine. Once the first signs of resistance appear it is a snowball effect from there.
In Arkansas and across the Midwest, growers tell me what they are doing and that it is working fine. I politely just say, “Then please change your program now.” If you are in to farming for the long haul, that is where you have to get to.
It so critical to preserve glufosinate, because that is what we have now as far as anything new. In the next five years or so there are three rounds left in the chamber. Traits for three herbicide groups (dicamba, 2,4-D and the HPPD inhibitors) are being developed. Hard work is going into all of them. We need all three to be successful. It remains to be seen if they can be intercropped or grown together on the same farms or in the same areas. If not, we continue down the road of using up one technology at the time. There were presentations at the meeting on waterhemp resistance to 2,4-D and to the HPPD inhibitors and the technologies are not even here yet.
We continue failing to demonstrate that we can be smarter than weeds. There is no one answer. The answer is crop diversity, tillage diversity, herbicide diversity, trait diversity and soil seedbank management in every field starting now. [More][My emphasis]
Whoa - I thought I was blunt, even cynical, about farmer attitudes of apparent lack of long-term responsibility in our profession.

Maybe I was understating the case.

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