Have you ever thumbed through your child’s textbook only to be left shaking your head?

RealAgriculture founder Shaun Haney was helping his youngest son with his science homework when a small sidebar on herbicide resistance caught his eye:

While technically possible (there has been confirmed cross-pollination between herbicide tolerant brassicas with a weedy relative), the spread of herbicide resistance is far more complicated than mixing of pollen, scientists say.

On Twitter, several weed scientists weighed in to offer a bit more context than the textbook provided:

One thought on “Weed scientists weigh in on text book blunder

  1. Resistance happens much more commonly because a chemical is used too frequently (season after season) on a specific weed population. Some tolerance starts in a few individuals as a genetic mutation, and when the herbicide continues to be sprayed selection favours the herbicide resistant types. Some growers then see some weeds missed during herbicide applications and make the fatal error of increasing herbicide rates, thereby more rapidly selecting for the mutation trait in the weed population. Either way, over time the once susceptible weed population evolves to being mainly resistant to the chemical (and other similar chemicals that occupy the same group). A proper crop rotation and herbicide rotation, along with good tank mixing practices, greatly eases selection pressure. It will also help to cure the few exceptions to the rule that happened due to the low frequency of HT crops crossing with local weed species to assist with the evolution to having a herbicide resistant weed population.

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