Farmers will be surveyed about weeds found in their fields and their crop production systems.
Farmers will be surveyed about weeds found in their fields and their crop production systems.

An interdisciplinary team of weed scientists, economists and sociologists, led by agronomist Mike Owen of Iowa State University is developing effective approaches to address the growing problem of herbicide-resistant weeds. With support from a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant, the team is seeking to gain a better understanding of the causes and consequences of herbicide resistant weeds and the strategies farmers use to cope with them. The project also addresses barriers farmers face in adopting more diverse strategies for herbicide-resistant weed management. 

Beginning in November, the team will survey farmers who manage a wide-range of corn, soybean, cotton and sugar beet enterprises. As the people on the front lines of herbicide resistance, farmers have a unique experience and understanding of the problem and the opportunities for cost-effective approaches, which makes the information they can provide so critical for effectively responding to the herbicide resistant weed problem.

Ag retailer agronomist or crop consultant should look for any way they could assist their farmer customers in completing the survey.

The survey will help the team better understand the human dimensions of herbicide resistance as well as how herbicide-resistant weeds are spreading. It will determine how farmers manage weeds on their farms, including the use of herbicides, tillage systems, crop rotation, and other practices that have significant impacts on herbicide resistance.

“Growers in several states will receive the survey. It's important that anyone who receives it fill it out and return it in a timely fashion,” said Kansas State University weed scientist Curtis Thompson. 

Another focus of the survey is to identify social, economic and technological barriers that prevent farmers from using different weed management approaches.

While herbicide resistance has existed for decades, the number of weed species with resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides has risen dramatically in recent years. As a result, more time and money are being spent on weed control, and farmers are faced with the likelihood of lower yields and profits unless changes in their weed management are implemented. Further, some conservation gains made with reduced or no tillage systems may be reversed. This is why gathering the survey information is so important.

In addition to Owen, other team members include: Raymond Jussaume and Katherine Dentzman, Michigan State University; David Ervin, Portland State University; Wes Everman, North Carolina State University; George Frisvold, University of Arizona; Jeffrey Gunsolus and Terry Hurley, University of Minnesota; Jason Norsworthy, University of Arkansas; and David Shaw, Mississippi State University.

More information is available by contacting Owen at mdowen@iastate.edu or 515-294-5936.