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Industry Unites On Resistance Issue


When a major crisis occurs in cotton production, the industry has a way of coalescing and finding a way to solve the problem. That is precisely what is happening as producers try to control weed resistance in the Southeast and Mid-South regions.

Weed scientists such as Alan York of North Carolina and Stanley Culpepper of Georgia have warned producers about the danger that resistant pigweed poses. York spoke recently at Cotton Incorporated’s Crop Management Seminar in Tunica, Miss., and repeated a familiar theme.

“If you don’t act quickly to prevent this weed from coming into your field, you’ll pay for it,” he said.

While Culpepper and York have warned about this weed’s resistance potential, chemical companies have begun to step forward. One has even taken the extraordinary step of providing farmers an incentive to buy products from other companies to help the industry fight the problem.

A Proactive Approach

Because all producers understand the value of using numerous residual herbicides to control weed resistance, Monsanto has announced a special rebate program to producers in the Southeast and Mid-South. It will help them defray the costs of implementing a weed resistance program.

Another innovative part of the program, which began on a limited basis in 2008 in the Southeast and will include the Mid-South this year, involves recommending residual herbicides from competing companies, such as Valor manufactured by Valent.

Farmers who plant Roundup Ready or Roundup Ready Flex technology can participate in the program and use one or more qualifying herbicides. The pre-plant herbicides include: Valor, Reflex and Cotoran. The early post group includes: Parrlay and Dual Magnum. The suggested layby herbicide is Direx.

Any product can be used individually for its specific rebate – or one herbicide from each category can be combined for up to a $12-per-acre rebate.

“The research community saw this as a good way to have an enhanced program for weed resistance control,” says Rick Cole, Monsanto’s chemistry technology development manager. “By taking this route, we share some costs with the producer and help him manage the pigweed. It’s a win-win deal.”

Positive Producer Reaction

Paul Callaghan, Monsanto cotton traits marketing manager, says reaction was good after the pilot program began last year in parts of Georgia. Producers were offered a rebate on Parrlay and Valor if they used the products at recommended rates. If they used one of the products, they were rebated $5.50 an acre. If they used both, they received $11 per acre.

Cole and Callaghan say that in order for such a program to have a real impact, the academic community needs to support it. Plus, there has to be good producer participation. More than 1,400 farmers participated in 2008, and officials expect that number to increase dramatically this year.

Monsanto contributed information for this article.

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