The most dangerous words a cotton farmer will ever say are, “I thought I could get by one more year,” says long-time University of Arkansas Weed Scientist Ken Smith.

Speaking at a recent Monsanto-sponsored New Product Evaluator Summit in Charleston, S.C., Smith was describing the problems farmers throughout the Mid-South and Southeast have had and continue to have in managing glyphosate resistant pigweed.

Smith says when dealing with pigweed, resistant or not, don’t let inconspicuous get confused with harmless. Inconspicuous and harmless don’t go together in describing pigweed, he says.

Pigweed can sit in the ground 10-14 days, and they are small and they are inconspicuous, unless you are looking for them. But these fast growing weeds have a head start on cotton, and if the farmer doesn’t manage these inconspicuous weeds before they are 9-10 inches tall, he or she is likely to have a big problem, Smith says.

The three keys to managing pigweed are: Start clean, overlap residual herbicides, and manage escapes. Those simple steps seem easy enough sitting here in December, Smith chides, but when things get hectic at planting time, those three easy steps get harder and harder to take.