Published on Wed, 04/30/2014 by BASF Canada

Managing the spread of glyphosate resistance

Canadian growers are definitely on the lookout for resistant weeds. In fact, Canadian growers are reporting that 1.1 million acres of cropland are already infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds, according to a 2013 survey conducted by Stratus Ag Research. The report also identifies that approximately 60 percent of the affected acres are in Saskatchewan, where growers are producing the majority of Canada’s wheat crop.

The number of affected acres infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds in Canada will almost definitely increase in 2014 and these weeds will continue to be a problem for growers. 

Growers in Saskatchewan and across the country have the opportunity to look at examples from the US and be proactive about weed control to prevent the same quick spread of resistance that we’ve seen south of the border.

The report identifies kochia as the most troublesome weed in Western Canada and, because of the nature of the plant, it spreads quickly and can have a major effect on crops.

By better understanding the plant, growers may be able to take steps to control it in their fields and delay the spread.

Spread

Kochia is a tumbleweed and tumbles across the landscape dropping seed onto the ground until it is stopped by a fence or other object.  This means that resistant kochia in one field can quickly spread into neighbouring fields through this seed dispersal mechanism. One of the signs that kochia is resistant to glyphosate or any herbicide group is the easy to follow lines in the fields of weeds that remain uncontrolled after being treated with a herbicide.

Seeds

Each plant is capable of producing up to 25,000 seeds and these weeds keep germinating for two to three years.

Germination

Kochia seeds can germinate in a wide range of conditions, from the cold, moist soils of early spring and can keep germinating into the hot, dry summer timeframe requiring control at multiple times through the growing season.

Weeds can have a major effect on a wheat crop from reduction in yield to increased application and harvest costs and weed pressure from resistant biotypes and can increase quickly so it’s important to take steps to control it early.

Growers looking for new and different herbicide options to control glyphosate resistance need to look beyond Group 2 chemistries since a large percentage of kochia in Western Canada is resistant to Group 2 products. Crop protection companies like BASF are working with growers to help find solutions to these problems.

“Working with growers to stay ahead of the problem of resistance is a priority for BASF,” said Danielle Eastman, Brand Manager Western Herbicides at BASF Canada. “Herbicide products with unique modes of action like Heat and Distinct, and herbicides with multiple modes of action like Altitude FX, which is used as part of the Clearfield production system for Wheat, are providing excellent solutions for controlling glyphosate-resistant and Group 2-resistant kochia.”

The number of affected acres infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds in Canada will almost definitely increase in 2014 and these weeds will continue to be a problem for growers. Looking for herbicide options that introduce an alternative mode of action will be one of the best ways to manage glyphosate-resistant kochia if it shows up on your farm.

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