Molecular herbicide resistance testing is bad news for weeds

By Carol Brown, Soybean Research Information Network

The main method for getting rid of weeds in a crop field is fairly simple: spray them with a herbicide. But some weeds are resistant to herbicides. Knowing which ones are resistant ahead of time could save farmers time and money by not applying a herbicide that isn’t going to work.

Michigan State University weed geneticist Eric Patterson is working to identify herbicide-resistant weeds faster. He led a research project with Michigan soybean checkoff support to detect resistance earlier through molecular diagnosis.

“The current process for farmers to find out if weeds are herbicide resistant is to send seeds from weeds that survived herbicide applications to a weed diagnostics clinic. At MSU, Erin Hill is one of the few dedicated weed diagnosticians in the country,” Patterson explains. “When she receives weed seeds in the fall, she grows the plants and conducts a ‘dose response’ assay.… Continue reading