While the stomach-churning drought of all droughts gets 24/7 news coverage, our cover story focus for August emphasizes an even larger problem that will remain in your fields well beyond this one crop cycle. And you can't buy insurance for it. The southern Minnesota field on the cover is being overrun by resistant giant ragweed, spread via combine and pollen. The glyphosate molecule will no longer control this prolific weed seed producer – similar to waterhemp and its pigweed cousin Palmer amaranth.
Global weed-resistance guru Stephen Powles from University of Western Australia recently toured the U.S. His telling statement: "Unless there is immediate action in all areas where glyphosate-resistant crops dominate, there is going to be widespread glyphosate failure. A great system has been way overused."
Just ask Georgia farmers how these weeds overtake fields. Our sister publication Southeast Farm Press reported that 50% of all cotton acres are infested with glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed. Herbicide costs have doubled, and hand weeding now occurs on 52% of Georgia cotton fields – at a cost of $24/acre. And yes, steel has made a comeback to try and stop these weeds – from in-row cultivation to plowing.
So this fall, as you run the combine across every acre, you'd be wise to harvest suspect weed patches last to not spread seed beyond that area of the field. And the smart thing to do is totally removing the weeds and seeds.
Yes, this problem is that serious. Powles is exactly right, along with every weed scientist, who proclaim the time is now to stop this epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds. And unlike the shepherd boy in Aesop's Fables, the weed experts have not been crying wolf for years. They could see the wolf. Hopefully our story on page 6 will help you to Think Different and begin to see the wolf more easily, too.
I sincerely thank you for reading and for being willing to Think Different.