Rainy weather brought muddy fields to the Tidewater Research Station in Plymouth on Aug. 6 which meant field tours had to be taken off the agenda of the 44th annual Blackland Farm Managers Tour, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the more than 450 farmers and others in attendance.

“We were very pleased with the tour,” said Beaufort County Extension Agent Rob Gurganus, who served as master of ceremonies. “Of course, we had hoped to do field tours, but we made adjustments and carried on. We fed 430 people, and all told I would guess we had more than 450 people on hand because some folks left  before the meal. Without a doubt, valuable information was presented at the tour.”

The Blackland Farm Managers Tour is considered the most comprehensive field day in North Carolina with information on the latest research in corn, cotton and soybeans presented. Topics on everything from varietal selection to pest control to fertility were covered.

Concern about Palmer amaranth resistance was top on the agenda at the field day. “We can no longer talk about weed control in North Carolina without talking about Palmer amaranth. It is now the driver weed,” said Alan York, North Carolina State University weed scientist.

Palmer amaranth is very competitive, widespread and resistant to both glyphosate and ALS inhibitors, York said. The weed is all over the Coastal Plain of North Carolina and has moved into the Piedmont surprisingly fast.

Research in 2010 showed that 98 percent of Palmer amaranth populations in North Carolina were glyphosate resistant and 97 percent were ALS resistant and 95 percent were resistant to both. “What that basically says is we’re running out of tools in a hurry,” York said.

“We’re not seeing new chemistry coming onto the market, and that’s why there’s so much concern about resistance,” he said. “We’re not seeing new modes of action in the marketplace, but what we are seeing is more effort being focused on developing transgenic herbicide resistant crops.”