How IPM can help with “superweeds”

Yesterday Paul Hollis from Southeast Farm Press wrote an eloquent and fact-filled blog about the myths behind “superweeds,” based on a new fact sheet published by the Weed Science Society of America. Mr. Hollis does an excellent job at explaining the points in the fact sheet, so you can read his article if you’d like to know how the “superweed” has become an average household word that, in fact, very few people understand.

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Resisting Resistance: NY Times Article

A New York Times article from Sunday, May 16, 2010, describes the herbicide resistance scenario I discussed in last Friday’s blog and discusses how herbicide overuse has contributed to glyphosate-resistant weeds. As he states in his conclusion, the desirable solution to the problem is the incorporation of new seeds, including unmodified seed, and the addition of cultivation practices.

Also, read today’s editorial in the Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina) about the evolution of Roundup resistant weeds in southeastern North Carolina.

Does Herbicide Use Encourage “Superweeds”?

When Roundup® entered the market in the early 1970s, it seemed to be an herbicide dream come true. Inexpensive, effective and non-persistent in the environment, glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup®, gave most users few things to complain about. Roundup® was cheaper than many other herbicides, so farmers could use it throughout the growing season with little economic impact. Farmers also enjoyed weed-free fields, and with the introduction of Roundup Ready crops in the 1990s, spraying weeds in developing fields became easier. National Park Service staff even use glyphosate to kill invasive weeds in the forest because it effectively controls vegetation and has low mammalian toxicity.

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