University of Illinois Researchers Find Way to Prevent Weeds from Spreading

In *All by Ag is America

Waterhemp, a nuisance weed that infiltrates many corn and soybean farmers’ fields, has developed resistances to many common herbicides, limiting what farmers can use to treat the problem. Many farmers use the same mode of action every year to kill the nuisance plants, however this is becoming ineffective and does not solve the problem of waterhemp’s continued evolution and increased pesticide resistance. University of Illinois scientists believe the best way to combat this is through communication and cooperation.

The scientists ran a simulation that showed when farmers use the same mode of action year after year, the resistance spread quickly. However, when farmers in a certain geographical area acted collectively and used a mixture of 3 to 4 modes of action, the spread of resistance was delayed decades. The more farms that cooperated in a specific area, the longer the delay in the spread of resistance.

The scientists are now running simulations with different variables, such as the use of cover crops, non-chemical herbicide options and crop rotation to better understand how their effectiveness increases on a larger scale. With the number of options to fight nuisance weeds decreasing, it is important to develop alternatives to ensure food security and the viability of the agriculture industry.

Collective action and collaboration is the best way to combat nuisance weeds. Read about it here.

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