A New Way of Thinking: Zero Tolerance for Weeds
Thursday, March 13, 2014
By: Jody Wynia, U.S. Corn Marketing Manager, Bayer CropScience
Many of you read that headline and thought, “I’ve never tolerated weeds. Why are you telling me that’s new thinking? It’s not new.”
Of course growers don’t like weeds –- that’s no surprise. You never have and you never will. They compete with your crop. Every time you see one pop up early in the season, your mind jumps to late season and wonder how much yield that weed will cost you. Plus, they are ugly and can disrupt the straight lines and clean fields your neighbors and fellow growers admire from the road.
But the reason we don’t like weeds is a little more complex. You might notice that what worked last year isn’t controlling the weeds in the same field this year. While a number of factors might contribute, one consideration is that the weed spectrum of that field –- and countless other fields –- is likely shifting. The most important weed for you to control last year might not be the biggest weed problem this year.
What’s new in this approach to thinking about weed control is not just looking at what weeds are present, but taking a closer look at why they are present in the first place and what weed shifts might happen in your field. This brings us to the new way of thinking I referenced above. It’s not necessarily the zero tolerance for weeds that is new, but rather learning more about why we need to have zero tolerance for certain weeds, particularly waterhemp and Palmer amaranth.
Once thought of as weeds existing purely in the south, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth are quickly making homes in the fields of the Midwest and beyond. But why now? Many farms have been under operation for decades –- even centuries. Why are today’s problems so different? The answer might surprise you. Glyphosate resistance is often the answer, but it’s not the only reason.
With the sophistication of today’s farming operations, it’s no longer good enough to know you need to kill weeds. There is an increasing need to know how the weeds grow in order to help you implement the most effective management tools. My colleague, Jeff Springsteen, marketing manager of Selective Corn Herbicides, and I take a more detailed look at this issue on our webpage, Zero Tolerance Weed Control.
About Jody Wynia
Jody Wynia is the U.S. Corn Marketing Manager for Bayer CropScience. Previously, he was the Senior Marketing & Supply Manager at Winfield Solutions in Shoreview, Minn. Jody currently resides with his wife and 2 children in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.