Case Study: a cautionary tale from down under.

Australian agronomist Josh Lade has witnessed the most severe effects of herbicide resistance first-hand. "In Australia, herbicide resistance has been a terrible problem for years," says Lade.

In Australia, herbicide resistance has been a terrible problem for years

"It's common practice for growers now to implement some sort of Harvest Weed Seed Control (HWSC) such as the use of chaff carts to collect and burn weeds after harvest, or...the innovative use of cage mills to destroy any resistant/herbicide-surviving weeds". This HWSC strategy (versus using herbicides) has increased many grower costs including fuel, equipment maintenance, labour and time management.

"It's affected the entire way they farm. When Australian growers make cropping decisions for the upcoming year, their resistant weed spectrum is one of the primary considerations. It's not a question of what they want to grow, it's about what they're able to grow."

Five years ago, Josh came to Canada to work on a large grain farm in Saskatchewan. Lade recalls that there wasn't a lot of resistance concerns when he first arrived. "...when I first started, almost everyone said it wasn't a problem because the fall frosts and the harsh winter climate would get the weeds. I believe this may have delayed it somewhat, but resistance is definitely here now."

According to recent weed surveys, Canada currently has over 60 different resistant weed biotypes and the numbers continue to grow.

When asked what advice Josh would give to Canadian growers, "Be proactive and vigilant," he says. "Learn from our mistakes. Canada is still in a good place to effectively manage resistance, so growers here need to put a plan in place while they still have the tools available."

Learn from our mistakes. Canada is still in a good place to effectively manage resistance...

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