Weed resistance to herbicides is a very real and serious problem that farmers worldwide are facing. Some highly invasive weed species have acquired resistance against multiple subgroups of herbicides designed to control them. The consequences of weed resistance can be devastating to farmers if not prevented, detected and treated in time with effective weed resistance management techniques.
Weed Resistance Management – What Is It and How Can It Be Resolved?
Weed or Herbicide resistance occurs due to a weed population's decreased susceptibility to a herbicide application that was previously effective at controlling its average population. Modern agriculture is heavily reliant on herbicides for weed control. It has led to the emergence of several populations of weed that have become resistant to the herbicides used to control them. Weed resistance management refers to the various methods employed to combat the menace of weed resistance. Once weed resistance is noticed in the crop, proper crop protection management techniques need to be implemented to control the weed's proliferation.
Many methods can help farmers successfully manage weed resistance. For example, rotating crops is a common technique adopted to fight weed resistance as crops differ in their inherent competitiveness against weeds and different herbicide groups can be used to target resistant weeds in different crops. Farmers also have the option of shifting to herbicide tank mixtures with multiple herbicide groups working together to reduced the instance of that target weed developing resistance to one single herbicide. Producers can also choose herbicide with active ingredients with short soil residual times instead of herbicides with long soil residual times that favour weed resistance.
Why is Weed Resistance Management Important?
If not managed effectively, herbicide resistance can lead to serious economic consequences for farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture industry. Weed resistance management is necessary due to the following reasons:
To Maximize Herbicide Activity
Herbicides are expected to kill only those targeted weeds that are sensitive or susceptible to the chemical composition of the weedkillers used on them. In the absence of proper weed resistance management, populations of weeds become resistant and are no longer controllable by applying herbicides.
Optimize Crop Yield
Weed resistance management helps in controlling the population of weeds that have become resistant to frequently used herbicides. Left uncontrolled, weeds can drastically affect the quantity and quality of the crop yield.
Control the Risks of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds
Once weeds develop resistance to multiple common herbicides, they become a significant threat to agriculture. Herbicide-resistant weeds could have severe economic and environmental consequences. Effective weed resistance management practices can help in curbing this threat.
Preserve Soil Nutrients for Crops
Weeds tend to compete with the crops in a field for solar energy, water, and mineral nutrients. Controlling the growth of weeds through proper weed resistance management is essential for preserving the nutrients in the soil for the crop plants.
Improve Soil Quality and Fertility
As populations of weeds develop resistance to herbicides, farmers tend to increase the quantity and frequency of herbicide applications. In the long run, this practice could reduce the quality of the soil. Resistance management techniques like crop rotation help in conserving and promoting soil fertility.
UPL Limited has been a global provider of sustainable agriculture services and products like herbicides, insecticides, and crop protection management solutions for over half a century. As one of the largest, global generic agrochemical entities, the company offers a multitude of products and proactive solutions for effective weed resistance management. It has a range of pre-emergence and early post-emergence weedkillers used in a tank mixture to combat weed resistance. Some of UPL Limited's products are specially formulated to combat herbicide resistance in weeds right from its initial few applications.