The story in the field now is pigweed, pigweed and more pigweed!
I wrote the entire winter of 2005 that a train wreck was coming with Palmer pigweed resistance to glyphosate. I am not a prophet nor am I any smarter than other weed scientists out in the field, but signs were everywhere.
At the time, there were not a lot of good answers for pigweed control other than glyphosate, and most weed scientists were resigned to the fact growers were not going to change what they were doing anyway.
Last year on a field day, I heard Larry Steckel from the University of Tennessee and Ken Smith from the University of Arkansas both comment that “glyphosate can no longer be considered a pigweed herbicide” in their states. Those were huge statements, but they did not have much impact because folks did not want to hear them.
At a recent pigweed field day at Newport, Ark., I was impressed with Bob Scott’s choice of words when he said, “Pigweed control has just become much more complicated.”
I will just go ahead and say it another way: the Roundup Ready technology has simply blown up for Palmer pigweed control in many areas of Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel and west Tennessee. The days of being able to go out and control Palmer pigweed by spraying a couple of shots of glyphosate any time you wish are over.
That may not be what you want to hear, but if you have fields where you did not control pigweeds with glyphosate this year, they will put you out of business if you do not change the way you are trying to control them.
And if you are in a pigweed area and can still control them with glyphosate, they will put you out of business in the near future if you do not change your program.
It is time to quit beating around the bush on pigweed control.
The university guys mentioned above and others spent a lot of time last winter trying to get this message out. A lot of folks did not want to hear it and other folks did not want you to hear it. Most of the weed scientists I know predicted this would be the “blow up year” and, in my opinion, it is.
I probably have not received the volume of calls my university counterparts have, but I have received plenty:
“What do I do after I have sprayed two applications of a pint of Flexstar with my glyphosate and haven’t killed my pigweeds?”
“Can I kill pigweeds with 2,4-D with a rope wick applicator over my soybeans?”
“We are trying to find hoe crews to chop pigweeds in our soybeans or cotton.”
“We have some fields I think we are going to have to disk up!”
I am not a gloom and doom guy, but I am trying to get your attention. I am watching us drive the best weed control technology we have ever known right off the cliff. In a lot of fields we have already done just that.
There are a lot of different folks in the field right now with different messages. We all have a tendency to hear what we want to hear. I challenge you to choose who you are going to listen to on weed resistance.
I am going to spend a lot of time in future articles cheerleading for the university weed scientists that I have a lot of confidence in. They have the right message. Hopefully you will find my message consistent with theirs.
We can control Palmer pigweed, and I will write about how to do that in future articles. First you have to realize that we have a problem and be willing to change your program. There are a lot of folks that still apparently do not believe the severity of the problem and others do not want you to believe it. I can assure you the folks looking for hoe crews believe it.