POSEYVILLE, Ind. — From the start of planting until the end
of growing season, weed management is continually on a farmer’s mind.
Mark Seib, a corn, wheat and soybean farmer in Posey County,
is no exception.
“Whenever I go into a store or coffee shop where farmers are
gathered, sooner or later the talk comes around to what has happened to
herbicide-resistant weeds and how it’s affecting them,” he said.
Weeds are beginning to become resistant to glyphosate, a
common herbicide. Because of this, the way weeds are managed is starting to
Seib shared his insight with AgriNews.
Q: How long have
glyphosate-resistant weeds been a problem?
A: They have been known to be around for four to five years.
Whenever you start using chemicals, the weeds are able to adjust, mutate and
compensate for the chemical. They are constantly changing to protect themselves.
I heard about it in the south first, and it’s slowly worked
its way north. Glyphosate was not always used a lot. But now that it’s used in
both corn and soybean rotations, it’s more and more of an issue.
Q: How are farmers combating the
A: We’re going back to some of our older chemicals that we
used to have and trying to mix those into the chemical rotation that we’re using
on the farm to take out these weeds. There’s some new technology being developed
that will help.
Q: How might weed management
A: Glyphosate is one of the cheapest forms of weed control
on the market. We’re going to have to think of using other chemicals and maybe
increasing costs per acre for chemicals so we can combat the problem.
Q: In what ways do farmers keep
the environment in mind while applying herbicides?
A: Every farmer has that responsibility and loyalty to make
sure they keep the environment safe. The thing is, my family lives on the farm.
I don’t want to do anything that will harm or hurt them in any way with the
I want to keep the land as safe and as productive as I can.
When my father was farming he would use gallons per acres of
chemicals for herbicides and insecticides. Now we use ounces. We have
drastically cut back on the amount of chemicals, as well as making our seed have
traits so we don’t have to spray for certain insects.
Q: If farmers are using less
chemicals per acre, is it saving them money?
A: We’re not really saving money, we’re saving environment
in which we live. And you can’t put a price on that. It’s very important to us.
Q: What advice would you give to
A: The biggest thing to realize is that we have is to catch
it early. Identify the weeds early. The bigger they get the harder they are to
control. That’s the secret I have found.
Whenever those resistant weeds get a foothold and grow a
foot tall, it’s very hard to take those out. Catch them when they are small. If
you don’t have the time to mess with it, have a scouting service check.
Q: What mindset should farmers
have about weeds?
A: It’s not a neighbor’s problem or the guy across the way’s
problem — it is everybody’s problem. Weed seeds are moved around by the wind,
birds and animals. It’s important for all of us to be responsible and try to
control these weeds that are difficult to take care of and eliminate.
Q: How can farmers learn
A: You can visit www.takeactiononweeds.com and talk with
your herbicide consultant. I use the site quite a bit to look at what chemicals
will work on certain weeds.