We know why weed resistance occurs, and we know it is happening now, so why aren’t we doing a better job of delaying it?

That’s the question asked by University of Georgia Extension Weed Scientist Eric Prostko during the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta.

“We know we get weed resistance due to the repeated application of herbicides with the same mode of action. This occurs more in annual weeds that have high populations or are highly distributed and are prolific seed producers, such as Palmer amaranth pigweed,” he says.

Everyone at the Beltwide and at other conferences and meetings is talking about resistance, but it’s not a new phenomenon, says Prostko. “It has been happening since 1968. My point is we know why it happens, and we know that it does happen, but it’s not getting any better. So why can’t we do a better job of delaying it? We can’t prevent it because we can’t prevent what Mother Nature is going to do,” he says.

One of the hindrances to resistance management is economics, he says.

“A lot of growers aren’t thinking long-term, they can’t. They’re thinking about how they’ll make it to next year and pay the banker,” says Prostko.

Another hindrance has been reluctance to change, he adds. “Think about what has happened from about 1997 to 2004. Weed control became very easy and very cheap or at least relatively cheap. Now we’re talking about going back to some things we used to do, and that’s significant. We’ve expanded acres and people don’t cultivate anymore, so to go backwards is a hard pill to swallow.”