A worry of Burbrink’s is that creating seeds that are resistant to 2-4, D may not end the threat from Palmer’s amaranth because farmers may try to use just 2-4, D on crops the same way they relied mostly on Roundup in the past.
“We have got Palmer problems around the South because that type of program was so easy to do,” Burbrink said of relying on Roundup to control weeds. “For 10 or 15 years you could drive around here and the bean fields had been extremely clean because we had the ability to go over them with one or two passes of Roundup and make them awesomely clean.”
Roundup attacks plants by limiting a critical amino acid, Burbrink said, which is just one of nine ways to attack plants with herbicides.
“The same thing can happen if you apply the same herbicide over and over. You need to mix up those herbicides,” he said.
Mayo also tells his customers to mix up the type of herbicides they use.
“What we look at is mode of action, which is how weed control works on plants,” Mayo said. “Some of them work by starving the plant, by causing de-photosynthasis, and others kill them when they are young. There are nine modes of actions, so you have to use multiple modes, from pre-plant to in-crop, to using some control in the fall.
“To be a farmer today, you have to be on top of your weed control knowledge and what you have on your farm,” Mayo said.
And prevention of the Palmer’s amaranth problem may be pretty simple for some farmers.
“I went around to all my dairy guys and told them what is coming. I told them it is probably easier not to use cotton seed than to correct the problems that come with it,” Mayo said.