How can we make herbicides live hard and die old?

From the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative

The old rock star adage is 'live hard, die young'. Keith Richards, on the other hand, has somehow managed to buck the trend and 'live hard, (and will) die old'. How Keith has lived so long will go down as one of the world's great unsolved mysteries.

Many herbicides are 'living hard, dying young'.

We need to work out how to get herbicides to 'live hard, die old'.

Back in 2006, Pat Tranel and others from the University of Illinois were investigating the first reports of glyphosate resistant waterhemp in the USA. As they travelled around they saw completely weed free fields, while other fields had glyphosate resistant waterhemp exploding out of the top of the crop.

Fast forward to 2010 and these same researchers set out to discover why. They worked with a local spray contractor who provided them with nearly 500 site years of data from 105 fields. They looked at everything from environment, to soil, to landscape and management.

They found that the difference was due to management, specifically, growers that have used full rates of herbicides in mixes.

Growers that used 2.5 herbicide modes of action (MOA's) on average per application were 83 times less likely to have glyphosate resistance than growers that had mixed 1.5 MOA's on average.

They concluded that mixing herbicides is better than rotating between them to prevent herbicide resistance. Pat summed it up perfectly by saying 'rotating herbicides buys you time, mixing buys you shots'.

Using herbicides in mixes at full rates may be the key for herbicides to 'live hard, die old'.


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