Fifty-seven percent of Canada’s largest cropping province now has fields full of herbicide tolerant weeds.

Researchers conducted random weed surveys on 400 fields and found that more than 19 million acres in Saskatchewan likely carry one or more weed species that are tolerant to one or more herbicides. A weed resistance survey conducted in 2009 showed that nearly 14 million acres are resistant, compared to 3.52 million acres in 2003.

While not every field has this issue, the spread of the problem within fields is growing. The ability to easily control the growth is shrinking, as tools like spot tillage and spraying become less practical.  

Agricultural weed researcher, Hugh Beckie, says weed resistance is over 60% in Manitoba, and suspects it will be over 50% in Alberta. He says early issues with herbicide resistant weeds began with wild oats. Group 1 and 2 resistance in Saskatchewan’s wild oats has reached 10.7 and 1.7 million acres, respectively. Now, Group 1 and 2 multiple resistance is more than 6.1 million acres of fields.

Up until a few years ago, producers were advised to rotate herbicides and crops to avoid weed resistance. Now, producers are being advised to keep their weed populations off balance. 

Click here to read the full article from the Western Producer.

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