Update in Weed Management 2009 - Has the Silver Bullet Been Developed?

Owen, Micheal
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The short answer to the question posed in the title of this paper is an unqualified and emphatic no! While there are new technologies, herbicides and formulations available, they represent only additional tools that will be helpful in implementing a successful weed management program. An emphasis must be placed on the "helpful" and "management", neither of which meets grower desires for simple, convenient, and cheap weed control tactics. While the glyphosate based systems are generally successful (still) in killing weeds (see "Is there a reason to consider stewardship or is killing weeds good enough?" which appears in this proceedings), there is no longer a question as to whether or not the system is beginning to weaken and problems are exhibiting themselves. In fact, more complaints concerning the performance of glyphosate on a number of weeds are received at an increasing rate. Thus, it is critically important to review the tools that are available and design the most effective and diversified weed management program possible. While this effort will require more thought and consideration than growers and AgChem professionals have become accustomed, it will pay dividends in the long term, both with regard to minimizing changes in the weed community and improving profitability. Silver bullets for weed management have never existed. This paper will describe a number of new technologies from a number of companies; not all companies or all technologies will be covered. The inclusion of a technology should not be construed as an endorsement or the exclusion suggests that the technology is not acceptable.