The Art and Science of Weed Control

Speaker 1: Oklahoma weeds are a lot like toddlers. Just when you think you have them figured out they’re on to the next stage of development and you can be back to square one. And because even the best parents sometimes seek expert advice we’re going to the weed guru of Oklahoma for guidance, Joe Armstrong, a weed science extension specialist at Oklahoma State University.
Speaker 2: Herbicide resistant weeds is not a new thing. The very first herbicide resistant weed was found back in the ‘60s and ever since then we’ve kind of added to that list over time.
Speaker 1: Fast forward about three decades when more Oklahoma producers began rotating with crops like canola to help improve weed control and management of other pests.
Speaker 2: But then it was a broad leaf crop, and that would give us opportunities to use a completely new group of herbicides that we didn’t have available in wheat to control some of these grass weeds and it’s been a very successful crop here.
Speaker 1: In addition, more farmers are transitioning to no till to preserve moisture and improve soil quality, and they’re mainly using glyphosate to battle weeds. Now different weeds are emerging.
Speaker 2: Glyphosate resistant mare’s tale is probably the biggest problem in our no till fields. Glyphosate resistant pigweeds, things like palmar amaranth and tall water hemp are going to be a concern here.
Speaker 1: To test for new populations Armstrong and his research team collect weed seeds from fields at the end of the growing season and then bring them here to the greenhouses on campus to grow under very controlled conditions.
Speaker 2: That gives us the opportunity then to target those areas in the state, or those particular weeds and crops.
Speaker 1: Also farmers can adjust their production practices to gain the upper hand.
Speaker 2: Basically it boils down to having a diverse weed control program, diverse crop rotation where you can use multiple methods for weed control in each of those crops.
Speaker 1: Bottom line, you have to be flexible in your approach, just like parenting toddlers.