There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on:
1) herbicide resistant weeds make weed management more difficult; and
2) the key to battling herbicide resistant weeds (or any weeds, really) is to use a diverse weed management program.
One aspect of a diverse weed management program is herbicide diversity. The quickest way to select for herbicide resistant weeds is to use the same herbicide over and over again. I’ve expressed heavy skepticism in the past that herbicide diversity alone can ‘fix’ the problem of herbicide resistant weeds. It is going to take a broad view of weed management diversity, including mechanical and cultural weed control practices, to really minimize the problem of herbicide resistant weeds. We need to think much more about non-herbicide weed control practices. But it is also naive to think that herbicide diversity (in the form of mixtures and rotations) will play no role. There is ample evidence that mixing herbicide modes of action is an important part of the resistance management puzzle. But this leads to the question:
How diverse are US herbicide programs?
To determine the answer to this question, and whether herbicide diversity has increased or decreased over time, we first need to quantify diversity. As you might imagine, diversity isn’t a simple thing to measure.
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