Australia tries to find a way to prevent the growth of the unwanted herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’ in its farms.
‘Superweeds’ are some unwanted growths that happen in the farms on their own. These weeds do not even get backwashed by the super powerful herbicide-resistants and it is almost impossible to eradicate them.
Due to the tremendous increase of these weeds in farms of Australia, farmers are becoming relentless. As a result, they have been forced to find new ways to manage them.
According to Bayer, the farmers have been paying roughly 27 percent more per acre due to increased management and yield loss.
There are 255 different weeds that have been discovered till date and these are found to have resistance to atleast one of the 165 different herbicides. But there are still 43 types of weeds that have shown resistance to even glyphosate. Glyphosate is the main and a widely used weed killer.
According to the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds the number of glyphosate-resistant weeds in the US is 17. Out of these, one of the worst is ‘Palmer Amaranth’.
A single plant of Palmer Amaranth has the capacity of producing over 1,00,000 seeds. Also, these weeds have the ability to grow taller than humans. The farms in Australia are getting destroyed by these superweeds.
“It’s getting to the point where if farmers don’t deal with resistance, they will see major losses,” says Christy Sprague, a Michigan State University professor and weed extension specialist who traveled to Australia.
“You could not design a cropping system better for the survival of weeds than the one we have here in Iowa, where all we grow is corn and soybeans,” says Iowa State University weed scientist, Bob Hartzler.
He also added, “The only thing that has sustained that is herbicides, and now we’ve (unintentionally) selected for a few weeds that excel at developing resistance to new herbicides.”
According to Simmons, one of the farmers from Australia, farmers should take most of the responsibility for fighting against weeds and they should not completely rely on industries for the same.
Over the past 30 years, whenever such a problem of weeds had risen, the industry always had a new chemical solution. But this research has been very slow or zero for a few years now. Hence, the need to fight these weeds has become more critical.
No specific method has been developed yet to fight these superweeds. But farmers along with researchers and scientists are working on finding a definite way to immune the Australian fields against the superweeds.