Farm Horizons, February 2004

Where is Roundup Ready most important to you?

By Myron Oftedahl, Certified Crop Advisor, Hutchinson Coop, Lester Prairie

The Roundup Ready gene has been adapted and can be used in many crops. Roundup Ready soybeans are being planted on a vast majority of the acres in the U.S., particularly in the Midwest.

The Roundup Ready gene is available in several other crops: corn, canola, and cotton to name a few, with wheat and alfalfa soon to join the list.

Which leads to the question: should I use Roundup Ready on all of my crop acres each year?

Roundup Ready soybeans were accepted very easily, primarily because it made spraying soybeans easy. You didn't have to decide what tank mix of herbicides to use or in some cases. having to make two trips or more because some products couldn't be tank mixed. We also didn't have to look at brown beans, short beans, etc.

So can I make it easy for myself and use Roundup Ready in corn also? Maybe even wheat or alfalfa when it is available in another year or two?

I would recommend deciding for which crop using Roundup Ready is most important to you, and use it on that crop only.

We may not see resistance to Roundup take place, but I think it is safe to say that we will see a weed shift of some type, and I think that we are already seeing this beginning.

Remember when waterhemp, lambsquarter, velvetleaf, and giant ragweed were easy to control with Roundup? Do you really want to speed this up by using the Roundup Ready system in soybeans and corn?

Several area universities are echoing these thoughts. Jeff Gonzales from the University of Minnesota, and Bob Hartzler from Iowa are voicing these same concerns.

The number of reports of resistance is increasing each year. Most of the cases where resistance has been proven began in fields of continuous beans. There are now thousands of acres in the eastern U.S. with resistant horseweed. Iowa and Missouri are currently researching cases of resistant waterhemp.

So I ask you, is this what you want to deal with on your farm?

This technology can be protected by using it only on one crop and/or using it in combination with other products so that more than one mode of chemistry is used.

Using full rates is also an important rule to follow to help avoid resistance. Roundup technology, combined with cultivation, is another effective way to avoid resistance.

The future of this technology is in your hands. The alternative is a return to the "good old days."

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