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“México es maíz” – and resistance to herbicides is growing

About

  • Date

    24 Oktober, 2017

About

Date

24 October, 2017

“México es maíz”: First domesticated by indigenous people in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago, corn (maize) is still Mexico’s most important crop cultivated on 60% of its cropland. 20% of the country’s corn production is grown in the Free and Sovereign State of Jalisco in western Mexico. “Jalisco es México”, say the locals, because many of the traits typically associated with Mexican culture are originally from Jalisco: mariachi music, birria or tequila, to name just three. And it’s in this state that Samuel Sahagun grows corn and winter wheat on 160 hectares.

Samuel Sahagun has been farming land near Ocotlán, Jalisco, for more than 30 years. His is a family farm he inherited from his father and grandfather. On the sandy-loam soils that cover most of the land and in the region’s warm temperature climate, corn and winter wheat are the crops of choice – not just on Samuel’s farm but throughout the region, which is considered to be Mexico’s main cereal-growing area. “I also grow corn and wheat because these crops normally have a guaranteed price till harvest,” Samuel says. “My crops are produced either for the local market or for export.”

Resistance a recent issue

Weed resistance became an issue for Samuel in 2015. “That was when I noticed the reduced efficacy of the conventional herbicides I was using and the need for more care on my weed control,” he explains. And he is not alone. “My fellow farmers in this area have also become very much aware of the problem of herbicide-resistant weeds.” The most serious resistant weed in cultivating corn is Ixophorus unisetus, whose common names include crane grass, turkey grass, Honduras or, rather significantly, Mexican grass. In winter wheat the resistant weeds are mainly wild oats (Avena fatua) and water grass (Echinochloa crusgalli).

Diversity and application technology

Samuel uses a combination of various herbicides containing different active ingredients to tackle the resistance problem in his corn and winter wheat. In this he enjoys the support of agricultural advisors such as Victor Adrian Rodriguez, a sales representative who has developed a strong relationship with him. “At Bayer we are combining herbicides featuring different modes of action and coaching farmers on how to use effective dosage rates, acceptable water volumes and adequate nozzle types for spraying herbicides,” Victor Adrian Rodriguez explains. “Other important aspects to consider are the application window, application time, and checking the pH of the water and the solution during the application.” The support to farmers on what and how to spray is key to enhance yield and productivity.

Thanks to the heightened awareness of weed resistance and increasing knowledge of how to tackle the problem, Samuel Sahagun and his fellow farmers are confident of maintaining Jalisco’s leading role in corn production. “México es maíz y Jalisco es México” – in the country that pioneered corn production many millennia ago farmers like Samuel are demonstrating how to cope with today’s crop challenges.

About

Date

24 October, 2017