Aggressive weed may be moving east from Pacific Northwest, where it finds a powerful foe in Huskie herbicide
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Feb. 15, 2011) – With a nationwide network of crop specialists, Bayer CropScience has its eye on future threats to grain production. ALS-resistant prickly lettuce (or China lettuce) has been a challenge for wheat growers in Washington and Oregon for nearly 20 years. But what about states farther east?
The weed has yet to reach an economic threshold in Montana, said Bob Stougaard, interim superintendent of Montana State University’s Northwest Ag Research Center in Kalispell. However, some industry experts expect it to be a matter of when – not if – resistance prickly lettuce comes east with all its headaches.
“It is very likely to spread to Montana, if it has not already,” said Steven King, technical service representative for Bayer CropScience in Huntley, Mont. “I also believe it’s very likely in the winter wheat areas of North Dakota, such as the southwestern region of the state.”
Cropping patterns in Montana may have bought growers extra time compared to their counterparts in the Pacific Northwest, although the predominance of wheat in rotations provides ample opportunity for prickly lettuce to spread and resistance to develop.
“I believe the lack of resistance in Montana is most likely due to winter wheat being grown in a crop-fallow rotation,” King said. “In the fallow year, glyphosate or tillage is used to control weeds. And as the pulse acreage increases and takes away fallow acres in Montana and North Dakota, so will the likelihood of increasing populations of ALS-resistant prickly lettuce.”
In the Pacific Northwest, prickly lettuce went from being a manageable problem to a serious yield threat when herbicide resistance was discovered. Jim Towne, field consultant for Pendleton Grain Growers in Pendleton, Ore., has dealt with the resistance problem since its beginnings. “We started to see some resistance in China lettuce in 1990,” he said. “Russian thistle was first, then kochia, marestail and China lettuce.”
Although ALS-resistant prickly lettuce can’t be eradicated, it can be controlled season-to-season with other modes of action. Grower Randy Suess of Colfax, Ore., relies on Huskie® herbicide from Bayer CropScience to keep prickly lettuce and other resistant weeds in check. “We had really good results with Huskie,” he says. “What growers around here like is being able to tankmix it with other herbicides for specific weed problems. You can really see the difference. I also like the fact that it doesn’t injure the wheat crop. Some fall-applied herbicides cause crop injury in the spring.”
Introduced in 2008 with a unique mode of action in cereals, Huskie inhibits an enzyme critical for plant pigmentation, resulting in the bleaching and rapid control of weeds. A second mode of action blocks photosynthetic processes. As a result, Huskie controls more than 50 hard-to-manage broadleaf species, including many that have become resistant to ALS inhibitors, and provides partial control of 20 others.
What should a grower in Montana and North Dakota who sprays ALS herbicides for their broadleaf weed control in cereals do if he suspects resistance in his fields?
“I would advise them to send a seed sample to their Extension service for screening,” King said. “I also would suggest that the grower not allow the suspected weed to seed out. Apply a non-ALS herbicide like Huskie in-crop to control the weed and reduce its potential to spread.”
Bayer CropScience is a company committed to bringing new technology to the forefront of crop production. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, growers should visit their retailer, contact a local Bayer CropScience representative, or visit Bayer CropScience online at www.bayercropscience.us.
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