Survey results published in Weed Technology indicate that U.S. farmers in general do not feel a sense of urgency when it comes to developing a deeper understanding of the herbicide glyphosate and its relationship to weed resistance.

What makes this study, “U.S. Farmer Awareness of Glyphosate-Resistant Weeds and Resistance Management Strategies” (2009, Vol. 23:308-312), especially important is that it is one of only a few that have compiled information on a broad scale about farmers’ perspectives on weed management in glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops.

Many of the surveyed farmers, who grow GR crops in six states, reported they were not very concerned about the emergence of GR weeds. However, the more often glyphosate is used, the more likely GR weeds will evolve. In fact, many weeds are already resistant, and this has and will continue to have economic ramifications.

The farmers also tended to believe they could reduce the likelihood of GR weed proliferation most effectively by following the glyphosate label’s instructions for use. Fewer understood that tillage and crop rotation are other effective strategies. The farmers’ position stemmed from a belief that better herbicides would soon be available to treat GR weeds. However, because of the time commitment and high costs associated with developing these products, they will probably not be available for several more years.

Although the farmers used a variety of publications as sources to keep informed of optimal weed management strategies, inconsistent information presented in these publications may compromise the effectiveness of the results. Therefore, it is critical that life science companies, universities, farmer groups, and the government work together to create and disseminate dependable information about the best herbicide resistance management.

Farmers must not be complacent when it comes to managing GR weeds. Their long-term success depends on appreciating and responding to the complexities of these ever-evolving invaders.

To read the entire study, click here.