Herbicide Resistant Weeds Affecting Canadian Farmers

photo courtesy of Univ. of Missouri

photo courtesy of Univ. of Missouri

The issue of herbicide resistance is a concern to all farmers. This is especially a concern in the areas where glyphosate tolerant crops are planted extensively. Prices over the past five years have made growing certain glyphosate tolerant crops very profitable. That profitability is causing some farmers to push their rotations which can impact in crop weed control and build resistance to glyphosate. Glyphosate resistance is a problem that is a bigger concern all the time in many areas of Canada and the United States. Glyphosate resistant giant ragweed has surfaced in parts of Ontario and group 1 resistant wild oats are a big problem in Manitoba.

We spoke with Dr. Hugh Beckie, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the 2011 Farm Forum Event. We talked about the issue of resistance and asked him about his top concerns across parts of Canada with regards to resistant weeds.

If you cannot see the embedded video below click here.

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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One Comment

Andy

Just last year in an Alberta Seed Association publication there was an article trumpeting how responsible Western Canadian farmers were because we weren’t having trouble with herbicide resistance like in the Midwestern US. This article was mostly regarding glyphosate resistance and missed the biggest reason that Western Canada does not yet have a myriad of confirmed and expected glyphosate resistant weeds.

That is the fact that there is only one crop that is glyphosate tolerant widely grown in Western Canada. Don’t think for a minute that if RR peas, wheat or lentils had been available for as long as RR soybeans and RR corn we wouldn’t have exactly the same issues as farmers in the US and Ontario.

Rather than patting ourselves on the back for how we lucked out with good herbicide management, we should be proactive in herbicide rotations in order to keep resistance in check. And, when more crops that are glyphosate tolerant to emerge into the marketplace, remember the lessons that have been learned in the Midwest or Ontario, so we don’t have to learn them the hard way again!

Because, unlike corn and soybeans, canola does not have a lot of herbicide options other than glyphosate or liberty. And, that also means that when Liberty comes off patent, farmers should be wary of using it a prolifically as we have used glyphosate. If we have herbicide resistant weeds to common canola weed control products, canola could quickly become as hard to manage and grow as before there were herbicide tolerant varieties.

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