A team of scientists from Iowa State University recently announced that it is working to find a solution to the increase of herbicide-resistant weeds. Farmers are currently attempting to work around the weeds, which are becoming tolerant of the herbicides used to control them.
“The spread of herbicide resistant weeds is a growing problem in many parts of the U.S.,” said Mike Owen, the Iowa State University Agronomy Professor leading the team. “While herbicide resistance has existed for decades, the number of weed species with resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides has risen dramatically in recent years. As a result, more time and money are being spent on weed control, and farmers are faced with the likelihood of lower yields and profits unless changes in their weed management are implemented.”
Within the next few weeks, the team will survey a series of farmers who produce corn, soybean, cotton and sugar beet. The goal is to gain a better understanding of the problem prior to forming cost-effective solutions.
“It will determine how farmers manage weeds on their farms, including the use of herbicides, tillage systems, crop rotation and other practices that have significant impacts on herbicide resistance,” said Owen.
The project is being funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition to creating solutions for the weeds, the researchers will be working to determine the social, economic and technical barriers that farmers face when it comes to weed management.