Resistance Management School: Hitching a ride across the continent

Herbicide resistant weeds are spreading across counties, the country, and the continent.

Weed seeds are hitching a ride on wind and water and being transported by everything from machinery and migrating geese to ducks and earthworms.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Resistance Management School, we’re joined by University of Guelph Ridgetown campus weed researcher, Dave Bilyea. He explains how resistant weeds often take root in a farmer’s field without their knowledge.

Resistant seeds from Canada fleabane, for example, can be carried up to 500 kilometres by strong winds and deposited into farm fields, according to Bilyea. He notes earthworms, long considered soil health champions, actually aid and abet the spread of herbicide resistant giant ragweed by capturing and dragging seeds down to their burrows. Here the seeds are protected and can germinate and emerge over the course of several years.

Bilyea also explains the role migrating water fowl have played in the recent arrival of herbicide resistant waterhemp in Ontario and the likelihood they could carry the feared palmer amaranth from the U.S. north to Canada.

Click here for more Resistant Management School episodes.

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