Texas Farmers Benefit from Weed Management Tips

10/22/2011

Weeds are typically the number one yield-limiting factor in farming. Although weed resistance is not yet a major problem in Texas, farmers often find it beneficial to seek tips on how to properly manage weed resistance before it even starts. Farmers in Texas aren’t experiencing as many weed issues as other southern states this year due to drought, however, discovering best practices for weed management is more important now than ever because weeds may return stronger the following year.

Luke Etheredge, Monsanto weed management technology development representative in Texas, knows the importance of properly managing fields and preventing weed resistance before it starts. Etheredge offers farmers advice on weed management and steps Texas farmers can be taking now to prevent potential resistance in the future.

“You should utilize multiple modes of action throughout the entire year, including fallow,” Etheridge said.  “Try to prevent weeds from going to seeds. And finally, initiate a ‘zero tolerance’ rule by removing all weeds chemically or mechanically in the field and in surrounding areas before seed set.”

Following these steps can lead to healthier crops, which has a direct impact on crop yield.

Steve Chapman, a farmer from Lorenzo, is ahead of the game in weed management. He follows the rules Etheredge suggests and uses multiple modes of action against weeds by applying herbicides before and after planting.

“Weeds weren’t an issue this year because of the drought—we never saw emergence,” Chapman said.  “But, pigweed is a problem weed and marestail might become an issue. I think we will see more farmers [using multiple modes of action] in the future.”

In June, Monsanto sponsored a tour for 150 Texas farmers to travel to the Mississippi Delta to get a first-hand look at weed management techniques used in the South. These same techniques can be used to help prevent and decrease weed resistance on their own farms.

Dave Rhylander, Deltapine® cotton marketing manager, sees great value in bringing Texas farmers into the Mississippi Delta to educate them about issues they have yet to see on their farms.

“It’s important for Southwestern growers to understand best management practices in weed control for today’s environment to prepare themselves,” he said.  “The goal is to build a high sense of awareness that everyone growing cotton needs to start using multiple modes of action in their weed management programs. We can’t bring every grower to the Delta, but we can do our best to educate a few and let them share what they’ve learned with their fellow growers.”

Monsanto will continue to help educate Texas farmers on how to prevent weed resistance. The educational effort is part of a larger company strategy to help farmers manage weeds in their fields. Farmers with questions on best practices for weed management should contact their local Monsanto representative or visit www.roundupreadyplus.com.