I just returned from the Global Herbicide Resistance Challenge conference in Fremantle, Australia.

It was a great meeting with a lot of internationally renowned weed scientists making excellent presentations. It was essentially the “State of the Union” on where we are on herbicide resistance world-wide.

The meeting left me even more convinced that diversity and proactive weed management is the only way farmers are going to survive this thing.

I presented at the meeting, but I certainly do not consider myself among the group of scientists mentioned above.

I contrasted a paper I presented in Australia on Roundup Ready crops in 2002 with our situation now. My title was “What a Difference 10 Years Can Make!” I subtitled it “From Bliss to a Train Wreck.” I essentially compared what Roundup Ready crops were doing for agriculture in the southern U.S. in 2002 to the mess we have with glyphosate-resistant weeds at present.

It was a very anecdotal presentation with no science.

However, I made the point in the presentation that unless we could somehow convince the farmer to change his thought processes from reactive to proactive weed management, that none of the great science being presented at the meeting meant anything. That is a pretty harsh statement, but I believe it to be true.

Scientists are going about the business of doing what scientists do. Most of the presentations at the meeting were great science about all the different mechanisms of herbicide resistance in the different weeds.

That is all great, but from a farmer standpoint that is the wrong end of the train. If we continue down the same path, the papers at the next meeting will be about why the new technologies coming do not work anymore.