Minnesota farmer Peter Bakken considers himself fortunate when it comes to weed control.
“I haven’t experienced any significant issues with herbicide-resistant weeds… yet,” he says.
This good fortune isn’t due to luck, though.
Bakken, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on the border between South Dakota and Minnesota, attributes his lack of herbicide resistance so far to scouting often and an aggressive weed-management plan he put in place with the help of his crop consultant.
“We have never used glyphosate alone in our corn fields, and we are fortunate to be able to still be using a half-pound of atrizine in our tank mix,” says Bakken.
A strong weed-management plan does not come without a cost, says Bakken. But he knows the benefit outweighs that cost. Using additional herbicides has increased management costs by approximately $7 an acre in his soybean fields.
“But we feel the cost has a huge return on investment for us considering the large seed bank that one escaped weed has for years to come,” he says. “The payback is increased bushels per acre by eliminating a weed that consumes moisture and nutrients and returns nothing.”
Bakken encourages other farmers to do everything possible to stay ahead of the issue, even if that means attacking what may look to be a small problem now.
“Don’t let the small patches get away because they quickly become large and sometimes uncontrollable areas,” says Bakken. “It may be costly for a couple of years but it could be a short-term expense for a long-term gain.”
Scouting plays a huge role in this plan and he suggests using a crop consultant if farmers don’t feel comfortable scouting their own fields or don’t have the time.
“The cost of hiring a good consultant is the cheapest hired help with the greatest return on the farm.”