Herbicide resistance – Not just about the weeds

Bob Schroeder
CPS Tangent

For several years now we have been talking about and using strategies to avoid herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide resistance in our crops amongst our many pests.  The introduction of glyphosate (Roundup-ready) resistant plants was one of the first technologies to really accelerate the resistance of some of our weed species in the crops and on the species where it is used.  As a result of the use of so much glyphosate, it has sped up the resistance of weeds and at the same time affected greatly the supply and availability of glyphosate to the rest of agriculture.  We in the Willamette valley this past year were affected again by product tightening of glyphosate as well as the extreme tightening of another product, known in our market as Rely and Reckon, and Liberty in the rest of the U.S.  Liberty too is used in an effort to combat glyphosate resistant weeds in other major U.S. crops such as corn and soybeans.  The result of this was the loss of available Rely for use in our fescue and ryegrass crops as well as for sucker control in hazelnuts.  Despite other sources of some of these products, supplies have continued to be limited because of the large volumes committed to the major crops while our NW crops are considered minor in the acres produced.

The latest product to come up on the radar screen that we have used extensively here in the NW is Dicamba, branded as Banvel, Rifle, Clarity, and a host of other generics.  Dicamba resistant soybeans have given soybean producers another tool for combating glyphosate resistant weeds in their production but it is having a big impact on product supply and availability to all the other crops.  With Soybean acres in just the U.S. surpassing 77 million acres, if only 1% of the acres account for a single Dicamba application, it is more than double the product the whole Oregon grass seed industry uses.