The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) is introducing a free training program designed to educate pesticide applicators, growers, agrichemical retailers, farm consultants and other stakeholders on herbicide resistance in weeds – a costly problem that threatens crop production across the U.S. and around the globe.
“A significant contributing factor in the evolution of herbicide resistance is the repeated use of a single chemical in the absence of other control methods,” says John Soteres, Ph.D., a WSSA member and chairman of the global Herbicide Resistance Action Committee. “It is vital that we have the best possible materials to communicate what we know about resistance and how to manage it in order to preserve crop yields and promote the sustainability of our cropping systems.”
WSSA established a task force of respected weed scientists from universities, industry and private consulting who volunteered to evaluate currently available materials and develop a new, updated training program. Led by Soteres, they spent 18 months pulling together the most current, science-based information available on the causes of herbicide resistance and effective management techniques.
The result is a peer reviewed, five-module program available as Web-based training, PowerPoint slides or video. WSSA plans to work with grower organizations, government agencies and others to disseminate the materials, with a special emphasis on reaching growers and agrichemical retailers. WSSA is also exploring continuing education credits for those who complete the courses.
“Knowledge is critical,” says David Shaw, Ph.D., chairman of WSSA’s Herbicide Resistance Education Committee. “When farmers have a better understanding of herbicide resistance and how to manage it, they can adopt proactive management programs that delay or mitigate the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds.”
The new herbicide resistance education program initially is available from the WSSA website at http://wssa.net/LessonModules/herbicide-resistant-weeds and from the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship (PES) website at pesticidestewardship.org. Additional sites are expected to be added soon. A Spanish-language version is actively underway under the direction of Enrique Rosales Robles, Ph.D., of INIFAP-Mexico.
Development of the program was supported by the National Corn Growers Association, the National Cotton Council and the American Soybean Association. It was funded by WSSA and by the Herbicide Resistance Action Committee, an industry coalition focused on herbicide stewardship.