It is a wholesale shift of philosophy that will be needed to manage weed resistance in this and future years. A former University of Arkansas Extension weed specialist has seen resistant weeds run amok up close. Ken Smith is now a Technical Service Manager for FMC Corporation, and his strong message for Indiana and Midwest farmers is do not take resistance lightly.
“It’s not something that you can ignore,” he explained. “I’ve talk to many, many farmers and they’ll tell you the worst mistake they ever made was thinking oh, it’s not that bad. There weren’t that many out there. I think I can get by one more year. You cannot get by one more year. So, hopefully with that philosophy shift, we will be able to manage these and stay out ahead of them.” And Smith added, “You guys have got a great opportunity to get out and get in front of this thing that the people in the mid-south and west Texas do not have. They’re already behind the 8 ball.”
Smith says learn from others’ mistakes and don’t try to “spray it out.” Treating weeds post-emergence is not going to work, and he wants the philosophy shift to include a first line of defense with soil residual herbicides.
“If our farmers will ever move from this philosophy of ‘we’re going to spray those weeds this year and look to see what happens’ to thinking about their soil seed bed, and this is a key. We had areas that farmers banded together in blocks of 20,000 contiguous acres and said we are not going to let Palmer amaranth go to seed in this 20,000 acres. And once they adopted that philosophy, we saw a tremendous change. If we’ve got an advantage on Palmer and waterhemp, it’s the fact that those seeds do not live a long time in the soil.”
Smith says exploit that weakness by proactively keeping seed beds clean, rather than reacting to the problem only when the resistant weeds show up. By then it’s too late.
“Now I’m with FMC and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say FMC has some really good soil applied herbicides, the sulfentrazone, the Authority products, the Anthem products, the pyroxasulfone. All are good products.”