Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Scientists Aim to Sustainably Outsmart 'Super Weeds'

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Across the United States, fields of genetically engineered crops have become laboratories for the evolution of glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds.

These fast-growing "super weeds" -- resistant to the highly effective herbicide glyphosate -- are cutting crop yields and raising costs for farmers, whose only recourse is to spray more and different chemicals.

The issue, according to Matthew Ryan, assistant professor of crop and soil sciences, isn't going away; three new GR weed species have been documented since January, bringing the total to 24. To combat GR weeds, the agrichemical industry has developed new transgenic crops that are resistant to multiple herbicides. But Ryan and Thomas Bjorkman, associate professor of horticultural sciences, believe this is not a long-term solution.

"The industry's solution doesn't get at the problem of using a single tactic for weed management," said Ryan. "It's not just herbicides. Overusing any one method of weed management, even hand weeding, can create selection pressure on weeds to build resistance."

Just as the overuse of certain antibiotics led to resistant bacteria strains, "super weeds" emerged shortly after transgenic GR crops were introduced in 1996 and farmers began relying almost exclusively on glyphosate to control weeds in those crops. This is why Ryan and Bjorkman are investing instead in preventing the evolution and spread of GR weeds by using diverse integrated weed management (IWM) strategies.

"Prevention involves killing weeds with multiple modes of action, and preventing movement of any potentially resistant weeds from field to field, or from field margins into fields," Bjorkman said.
Integrated weed management includes tactics such as cover cropping, mechanical cultivation, mowing, mulching, crop rotation and targeted herbicide application. Ryan's research shows that using multiple IWM strategies is most effective for managing weeds. IWM strategies also help lower the selection pressure on weeds, preventing them from easily developing resistance.

But Ryan said prevention is a tough sell to farmers who aren't currently battling GR weeds. Bjorkman believes this is because most farmers' finances don't take into account the benefits of avoiding future uncontrollable weed infestations. Also, the industry has pushed their transgenic seed and herbicide development research toward simplicity.

"There are instructions on bottles of herbicides, but not on integrated weed management plans," said Ryan. "IWM can be economical and feasible, but we need more on-the-ground research and work with farmers."

To fill this gap, Ryan and Bjorkman are refining IWM techniques to make them easier for farmers to adapt to their locations and cropping schedules. Ryan is conducting cover crop seeding rate experiments on farms in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina. He is also leading a newly funded multistate project to research pre-harvest interseeding of cover crops in corn and soybean fields.

Bjorkman's cover crop research has fueled development of two online decision tools that help farmers narrow down to a small number myriad choices for cover-cropping by situation. Bjorkman designed one tool for New York vegetable farmers; the other, developed in conjunction with the Midwest Cover Crops Council, covers several states with an emphasis on field crops.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Pathogen Takes Control of Gypsy Moth Populations
A new fungal pathogen is killing gypsy moth caterpillars and crowding out communities of pathogens and parasites that previously destroyed these moth pests.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
$4.8M USAID Grant to Improve Food Security
To strengthen capacity to develop and disseminate genetically engineered eggplant in Bangladesh and the Philippines, the USAID has awarded Cornell a $4.8 million, three-year cooperative grant.
Friday, April 01, 2016
$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Pest Attacks Can Lead to Bigger Crop Yields
New project receive three-year funding of $498,000 from USDA.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Algal Genes May Boost Efficiency, Yield in Staple Crops
New research has taken a step toward employing genes from blue-green algae to improve staple crop photosynthesis.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Study to Focus on Rice Genes, Yield and Climate
Cornell researchers received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study relationships among rice genetics, crop yields and climate.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
New Alfalfa Variety Resists Ravenous Local Pest
The new variety has some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle which has ravaged alfalfa fields.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Predators Delay Pest Resistance to Bt Crops
Crops genetically modified with the bacterium Bt(Bacillus thuringiensis) produce proteins that kill pest insects.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar
Despite widespread fascination with sharks, the world’s oldest ocean predators have long been a genetic mystery.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Surprises Discovered in Decoded Kiwifruit Genome
DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Produce Perfect: Biotech Sweet Corn goes Unblemished
With the kernel-loving earworm, producing unblemished ears of sweet corn is difficult.
Monday, October 14, 2013
New Micro Water Sensor Can Aid Growers
Crop growers, wine grape and other fruit growers, food processors and even concrete makers all benefit from water sensors for accurate, steady and numerous moisture readings.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Partnership Homes in on Regenerative Medicine
Scientists are to advance healing techniques and technologies for animals and humans.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Using Genes to Rescue Animal and Plants from Extinction
With estimates of losing 15 to 40 percent of the world’s species over the next four decades researchers whether science should employ genetic engineering to the rescue.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Scientific News
Modified Yeast Shows Plant Response to Key Hormone
Researchers have developed a toolkit based on modified yeast to determine plant responses to auxin.
New Discovery May Benefit Farmers Worldwide
Scientists have shown how a crop-microbe 'team' protect against fungal infection.
Antibiotic Resistance Can Occur Naturally in Soil Bacteria
Scientists have found natural anti-biotic resistant bacteria in soils with little to no human exposure.
Regulatory RNA Essential to DNA Damage Response
Researchers discover a tumour suppressor is stabilized by an RNA molecule, which helps cells respond to DNA damage.
Potential of New Insect Control Traits in Agriculture
Researchers have discovered a protein that shows promise as an alternate corn rootworm control mechanism.
Improving Crop Efficiency with CRISPR
New study of CRISPR-Cas9 technology from Virginia Tech shows potential to improve crop efficiency.
Gene Could Reduce Female Mosquitoes
Virginia Tech researchers have found a gene that can reduce female mosquitoes over many generations.
Fighting Plant Pathogens with RNA
Researchers develop strategy that could lead to environmentally friendly fungicide to fight pathogens.
Breakthrough in Plant Salt-Tolerance Research
Researchers have made a breakthrough in plant salt tolerance that could lead to new salt tollerant crop types.
Microbes Help Plants Survive In Severe Drought
Researchers discover plants survive better under drought conditions with help from natural microbes.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!