Herbicide Resistance: Researchers to Conduct Farmer Survey

The spread of herbicide-resistant weeds is a growing problem in many parts of the United States, and the number of weed species with resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides has risen dramatically; contributing to lower yields and profits for farmers.

An interdisciplinary team of weed scientists, economists and sociologists led by Mike Owen, university professor and weed specialist with Iowa State University and  Outreach, are working to develop effective approaches to address this growing problem of herbicide resistant weeds.

With support from an USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant, the team will conduct a survey of 10,000 farmers who manage a wide-range of corn, soybean, cotton and sugar beet enterprises across the nation. From this survey, the team hopes to gain a better understanding of the causes and consequences of herbicide-resistant weeds, and the strategies farmers are using to cope with them.

Another focus of the survey is to identify social, economic and technological barriers that prevent farmers from using different weed management approaches.

“As the people on the front lines of herbicide resistance, farmers have a unique experience and understanding of the problem and the opportunities for cost-effective approaches, which makes the information they can provide so critical for effectively responding to the herbicide resistant weed problem,” said Owen.

The survey will help the team better understand the human dimensions of herbicide resistance and how herbicide resistant weeds are spreading. It will determine how farmers manage weeds, including the use of herbicides, tillage systems, crop rotation, and other practices that have significant impacts on herbicide resistance.

The survey will be conducted in November and December with follow-up telephone interviews in January. Team members would be most grateful if those receiving their survey in the coming months would complete and return the survey in a timely fashion. Results of the survey will be presented next spring.

In addition to Mike Owen, team members include Raymond Jussaume and Katherine Dentzman (Michigan State University), David Ervin (Portland State University), Wes Everman (North Carolina State University), George Frisvold (University of Arizona), Jeffrey Gunsolus and Terry Hurley (University of Minnesota), Jason Norsworthy (University of Arkansas) and David Shaw (Mississippi State University).

If you have questions, please contact Mike Owen at mdowen@iastate.edu or 515-294-5936.


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