However, a 65 percent reduction in the number of weeds we have to contend with this year from last is significant and certainly a step in the right direction and reinforces my thought that this is the only way to manage this pest. Many people are telling me they have more to contend with this year than ever before. This is not the right direction and certainly will not get better without drastic action.

Unfortunately, soil-applied herbicides are not as reliable as glyphosate once was over the top. Unfortunately, Ignite will not kill as large a pigweed as glyphosate once did. Unfortunately, the new technology coming down the pipe will not be as effective as glyphosate once was. Unfortunately, the herbicide programs we have available in cotton and soybeans do not offer the flexibility glyphosate once offered.

But, in spite of all this, we do have some very clean fields. I have walked several fields that were pretty bad last year, but are much cleaner this year. Maybe these farmers are just lucky or maybe they are simply good. As we all know, it takes a good deal of both to farm in today’s agriculture.

Pigweed will certainly test our skills and question our luck. Someone lamented the other day that he and all his family had been making a special effort to pay the preacher as much as possible and the pigweeds were growing and no rain was in the forecast to activate soil-applied herbicides. He said he was beginning to suspect the preacher was not reporting his contributions.

I fully understand the old adage: “It is hard to remember the objective was to drain the swamp when you are up to your neck in alligators.” However, we are probably at crossroads as to whether some of our fields will become too costly to farm or whether we can turn the train around and start to reduce the soil seedbank.

We will discuss many of the management techniques at the upcoming field days at Marvell, Ark., on July 19 and at Keiser, Ark., on July 21. We will even address best options for turning a train wreck into something that can be farmed. If you are interested in attending, call me or your county agent for additional information.

Pigweeds are not going away and glyphosate is not a pigweed herbicide. Even with an aggressive management program, pigweed escapes are not only possible, but probable. We have certainly turned the corner on many fields and still have an opportunity to remove escapes from others.

In a distorted way, I hope 2011 will be remembered as the year of the pigweed. This will mean that every year after this is better. I am optimistic we can make this happen on most farms and I am looking forward to writing an article for the Delta Farm Press in a few years referring to how bad the weeds once were back in 2011.