Ray Davis has seen first-hand the damage glyphosate-resistant ragweed and marestail (horseweed) weeds can cause to crops, and he’s heard all the horror stories about resistant Palmer pigweed, noting he wants no part of fighting that battle, as long as he can avoid it.

Davis farms approximately 1,800 acres in Southampton County, in southeast Virginia. His primary crop is cotton, but he also plants wheat, soybeans, corn and peanuts.

The Virginia grower says resistant weeds likely will continue to increase in his area and that the rotation of herbicide chemistries is vital to his success.

For the past two years, he has planted Stonevilles’s ST 4145LLB2 cotton for the LibertyLink technology. Last year he took his battle against resistant weeds a step farther by planting FiberMax  FM 1944GLB2 with GlyTol LibertyLink for greater options in weed control.

Davis’ first experience with herbicide resistant weeds came about 10 years ago, when he began seeing ragweed that shouldn’t be there, based on the herbicides he applied.

“We would see spots of it here and there, but we were able to rotate with different crops and use a different mix of herbicides to keep in under control,” he says.

Giant ragweed used to be the ugly duckling, standing tall along fence and ditch rows, but a heavy dose of herbicides used to manage cocklebur, sicklepod and a host of other common weeds found in cotton and grain fields in the Upper Southeast kept ragweed under control and of little economic importance to growers.

The onset of glyphosate technology allowed growers to spray one time and be done with a wide spectrum of weeds, including ragweed.

Over the heyday of glyphosate-based weed programs, little else was done to manage ragweed and other commonly occurring weed pests.

When weeds began developing resistance to glyphosate, several of these weeds, like ragweed, began to show up in increasing numbers in soybean fields in the Midwest and later extending down to cotton and grain fields in Virginia.

Now, growers have a real problem with ragweed and horsenettle, two of those weeds that were once killed as a side benefit to glyphosate herbicides.