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Recent entries

Kevin Hahn

Food Plotting

Nasty Weeds May Be Coming to Your Food Plots

Fri, June 07, 2013

Sunshine and drier weather meant that I was back in the fields with my real job this week.  I spent the first half of this week in Southern IL putting out research trials that were designed to find solutions for controlling glyphosate resistant weeds in corn, soybeans and wheat.  The glyphosate resistant weeds that I was targeting were marestail, common waterhemp, giant ragweed, and palmer amaranth.  These weed species were once easily controlled with glyphosate but now in some areas they have evolved to become tolerant to glyphosate

Keeping glyphosate resistant weeds in the proper perspective
For most farm fields throughout the state, glyphosate remains a very effective tool for controlling many weeds.  However,  there is much concern as we are seeing a trend of an increasing number of glyphosate resistant weeds becoming more widespread throughout the US (see map below).  For reference, the first and only known glyphosate resistant weed was reported in 2000 in the state of California.


How glyphosate resistant weeds become a problem

Just as the overuse of a single antibiotic can cause the development of strains of bacteria and viruses resistant to that antibiotic, the over reliance and use of glyphosate to control weeds in many situations (crop and non-crop) has lead to the proliferation and spread of glyphosate resistant weeds.  Now that admittedly is an over simplified explanation, but the point I want to make is that if you continue to use glyphosate as the only herbicide on your glyphosate food plot crops year after year, you are opening the door to having glyphosate resistant weeds to become established in your food plot areas.
How glyphosate resistant weeds can infest your food plots
Most likely these glyphosate resistant weeds will enter your food plots via seed from an outside source. These resistant weed seeds may arrive via wildlife droppings, as stowaways in the mud on waterfowl’s feet, via equipment contaminated with weed seed, or maybe come in with flood waters, or by the wind.  Mother Nature has designed weeds with characteristics which enable them to be dispersed widely—think about cocklebur and dandelion seeds as a couple of examples.  Thus, if your herbicide program for your food plots is only glyphosate, you are putting out the welcome mat for glyphosate resistant weeds.

The best way to prevent resistant weeds in your food plots
The easiest way to control glyphosate resistant weeds in your food plots it to be proactive and don’t let them get established.  Keep this in mind, a single female waterhemp plant can produce over 300,000 seeds.  Many weed seeds can remain dormant in the soil for 20+ years or more.  So if glyphosate resistant weeds find their way onto you farm and if allowed to produce seed, they are going to be there for a while.  The best way to be proactive is to use a mixture of herbicides with different modes of action to control weeds in combination with glyphosate as part of your herbicide program.  So in the event that glyphosate resistant weeds find their way onto your farm, the chances of its survival to produce seed are reduced greatly if other herbicides are used in combination with glyphosate. Putting the right herbicide program together requires several considerations and will vary by area. For this reason I am not providing any herbicide recommendations in this article.  If you are not sure what herbicide programs are good for your area, seek local advice from your local Ag Chem retailer or others who have expertise on this matter for your area. 


I thoroughly enjoy your property management posts.

And my answer to the title of this post is “YES!!!!”

I began managing our current property about 5yrs ago.  We have around 10 acres of row crops for food plots.  And when we got access to the ground, it had been no-tilled beans for the previous 10-12yrs….that I know of. We have water hemp and marestail among others.  And we have been struggling to keep them in check.

It seems to be a growing problem in our area of Southern IL, and the Effingham Equity branch that I deal with has been trying to develop new methods to combat them.  But it’s definitely a headache.

We have a 14 acre field that is separated from other ag fields by 1/4mi or more of timber at the closest point.  So it’s interesting to think about the possibilities of how they became established there to begin with.

Posted by bw on June 08

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