First it was Pepsi Throwback. Now it’s herbicide throwback.
From a University of Illinois media release:
2,4-D is coming back. What many might consider a “dinosaur” may be the best solution for growers fighting weed resistance today, said Dean Riechers, University of Illinois associate professor of weed physiology.
“Farmers can’t imagine going back to 2,4-D or other auxin herbicides,” Riechers said. “But herbicide resistance is bad enough that companies are willing to bring it back. That illustrates how severe this problem is.”
In a recently published article in Weed Science, Riechers and his team of research colleagues suggest that tank-mixing auxinic herbicides with glyphosate may be the best short-term option available to farmers interested in broad-spectrum, postemergence weed control.
“Resistance has become a big problem,” Riechers said. “In 1997, researchers predicted that glyphosate resistance would not be a big issue in Round-Up Ready crops. For the most part, they were right. But they underestimated a few weed species and resistance mechanisms.”
Since the 1950s, 29 auxin-resistant weed species have been discovered worldwide. In comparison, 21 glyphosate-resistant weed species have been discovered since 1996 when Round-Up Ready soybeans were commercialized. And interestingly enough, two of the most problematic weeds in Round-Up Ready soybean and cotton – common waterhemp and Palmer amaranth – are not yet on the list of auxin-resistant weeds, Riechers said.
Ideally, chemical companies would come up with a new herbicide to fight these resistant weeds. But new herbicide development is expensive and time-consuming. Riechers said he does not know of any new compounds on the horizon…
No doubt the enviros will freak out as 2,4-D was a component of the wrongly maligned Agent Orange.