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How can integrated weed management
help raise my productivity levels?

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The battle for yield

Around 30,000 weed species worldwide are reducing the quality and volume of crop yields as they constantly compete with crops for nutrients, sunlight, space and water. What’s worse, the number of herbicide-resistant weeds is also growing fast: 252 of the 1,000 worst and most common weed species have developed resistance to 23 of the 26 known herbicide sites of action and to 161 herbicides in 91 crops and 67 countries (as of 19.12.16). Moreover, no new modes of action that could potentially control them are expected in the near future.

How weed resistance occurs

In every weed population there is a certain range of natural diversity in the genetic makeup of the plants. Naturally occurring mutations due to cosmic radiation or a plant's internal DNA repair mechanisms, for example, contribute to this genetic diversity. Besides, several generations of a weed may well be exposed to several herbicide applications at different times during the cropping season. After application of a herbicide with a specific mode of action, there is always a chance that a few weed will survive and produce seeds or in the case of perennial species, rhizomes or other vegetative propagation structures. If the same herbicidal mode of action is applied again and again with no complementary non-chemical weed-control measures, the risk of resistance increases fast, and resistant weeds can soon take over an entire field.

Bayer is not the only life science company to take the weed resistance issue very seriously. The global Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC), an international body founded by the agrochemical industry, helps to protect crop yields and quality worldwide by supporting efforts in the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds.

How weed resistance develops – a theoretical example

Actual development depends on the particular weed and cropping system

Bayer is not the only life science company to take the weed resistance issue very seriously. The global Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC), an international body founded by the agrochemical industry, helps to protect crop yields and quality worldwide by supporting efforts in the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds.

How weeds are best managed

Weed seeds return to the soil at the end of the season, only to emerge again and compete with crops. It is essential to implement management tactics to reduce the weed seedbank. Some examples are detailed below:

  • Implement a crop rotation that puts target weeds off balance, e.g. alternate spring and autumn crops.
  • Implement soil management techniques that help to reduce the weed seedbank, e.g. stale seedbed, tillage or deep plowing.
  • Apply weed seed control tactics at harvest time, e.g. mechanical and cultural practices that capture and destroy the weed seeds before they replenish the soil seedbank

How farmers are staying productive

Bayer Forward Farms, are living examples of how sustainable agriculture is being practiced across Europe. These farms belong to a growing network of independent, privately owned farms chosen for their cropping systems, location and commitment to maintaining biodiversity. One of these Forward Farms, Bernd Olligs’ Damianshof near Rommerskirchen in Germany, has been practicing sustainable weed management for generations. Find out more about Bernd Olligs’ approach to weed control here.

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Protect your crops!

Watch and learn why taking action now is key!