Researchers say farmers face a vicious one-two punch from herbicide resistant weeds in their fields, but Heartland farmers are getting to the root of the problem.
University of Missouri Extension Weed Specialists say waterhemp that is resistant to herbicides is the number one problem in Missouri soybean production and it's changing the face of agriculture.
Each year Missouri grows 5.3 million acres of soybeans and two-thirds of the fields are infested with this pesky weed. Farmers may spend an extra $30 an acre fighting waterhemp which adds up to a lot of money for the growers.
While waterhemp is the biggest problem now, another weed is spreading throughout the country and could pose an even bigger threat. Palmer ameranth is a much more aggressive pigweed. Just one could cause as much damage as four waterhemp plants.
To prepare, farmers first need to control resistant waterhemp. That's why rotating different herbicides is important.
"If you keep on spraying the same herbicide over and over it's going to get resistance and we've seen that," says Kevin Bradley, a Weed Specialist with the University of Missouri. "We have to change tactics and go back almost to the way we used to do things and be more of a manager of the weeds out there."
This plan of attack seems to be working. Over the past two years, waterhemp numbers are down and experts say farmers are doing a better job controling the weed.
"It is a solvable problem and I think we're starting to get where we're solving it, but having said that it's still the number one problem," Bradley cautions.
For more information about herbicide resistant waterhemp, visit this link.