Bayer Cropscience encouraging integrated weed management options to stave off resistance

Bayer CropScience, an arm of the multinational seed and biotechnology company, said it has a strong commitment to integrated weed management programs, particularly as the company expects no new herbicides to come to market for at least eight years.

Integrated weed management, a component of Bayer's pest management program, is a more holistic approach to dealing with weeds, the single largest reason for crop losses globally.

Bayer said it is committed to actively pursuing and promoting integrated weed management options, “including mixtures, rotations and sequences of herbicides with alternate modes of action, pre-emergence treatments, crop rotations, field hygiene measures and cultivation measures that fit into local production practices and are economically viable.”

Crop losses cause high management costs and threaten food security, a briefing recently published by the company warns.

“Consequently, it is necessary to monitor vigilantly and use a variety of chemical and nonchemical strategies to control weed populations before they get out of hand,” the authors said.

A combination of physical, cultural, biological and chemical measures that are cost effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable are needed as farmers are forced to diversify in the face of rising resistance. Resistance is on the rise largely because of the huge success of glyphosate-based herbicides and glyphosate-tolerant crops.

This has led to may companies cutting back significantly on research as the “risk of resistance was underestimated,” the briefing said.

“No new herbicide mode of action will be launched in at least the next eight years,” the company said in its briefing paper.

It is clear if the same herbicidal is applied to the same field again and again with no other complementary nonchemical weed-control measures, the potential for resistance is high.

Bayer said it offers solutions, including seeds, crop protection products and services, to promote best weed management practices.

The aim, it said, is to prevent resistance from happening in the first place and preventing early-stage resistance from getting out of control.

“This goal is difficult to achieve in reality because when a particular weed management practice is working well and is economically attractive, it is tempting to continue with it,” the company said. This occurs despite knowing that over-reliance on a single measure can significantly increase selection pressure.

The problem must be recognized, studied in detail and properly addressed with a dedicated program over a longer period of time.

“Integrated weed management is not a one-time, quick and lasting fix,” the company said.

Bayer said it is “strongly committed” to research and added that is the only company worldwide to “cover the entire spectrum of herbicide tolerance technologies, including GM and non-GM solutions as well as safer chemistry.”

As an example, Bayer cited its partnership in Australia, where Bayer CropScience will adapt testing, evaluation and optimization of new chemistry on major Australian weeds, including resistant weeds, and will field-evaluate all advanced herbicide classes in Australia.

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Bayer CropScience

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