Herbicides are a useful tool for controlling weeds. Over time though, various types of weeds can become resistant to the effects of the herbicide. Through random mutation, herbicide-resistant strains can emerge and spread, rendering the herbicide ineffective. This can really hamper the farming process.

Facing this issue, the solution is not to increase the use of herbicide; this will not have any additional effect besides negatively impacting soil quality. Below are some quick tips to follow if you are unable to manage weeds due to herbicide resistance.

Use different herbicide groups

Herbicides are categorised into various groups depending on the chemicals they contain. If weeds in your farm are growing resistant to your herbicide, the first thing you should do is switch to a different group for a better effect. Be aware that alternating different herbicide groups isn’t always a sustainable long-term solution, and that other options may need to be explored.

Manage weed seeds

Farmers in Australia have been dealing with the issue of herbicide resistance for decades now, and the best way to manage the growth of weeds is by ensuring that the seeds are not able to reach the growth stage. Reducing the number of weed seeds in the soil addresses the issue at its root. This can be achieved with a range of weed seed management tools, or through various chaff lining procedures.

Competitive cropping

By planting crops very close together, you can minimise the space and nutrients available to weeds in the first place. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘smother crop’. With techniques such as early seeding, narrow row spaces and a higher seeding rate, you can ensure that the crops actually compete with the weeds for the growing. This is a brilliant technique used by farmers across the world.

Crop rotation

Rotating crops in the same field year after year adds diversity to the cropping system. This constantly changing environment makes it harder for a specific type of weed to flourish. While this method may not give you quick results, in the long run, it is the best way to combat herbicide resistance. Farmers have used crop rotation since the ancient days to fight off weeds and also maintain the nutrient levels in the soil. Plan out your crop rotation and follow it to ensure that the weeds do not have the chance to grow in the soil at all.

Shallow tillage

Weed seeds are usually placed in the upper layer of the soil. So, by making a shallow tillage pass, farmers can uproot most of the weeds in a given field. With the help of modern shallow tillage tools, you can ensure that tillage and weed removal takes place simultaneously, thereby saving both time and money. Furthermore, you will not have to depend on herbicides or any other chemical components for removing weeds.

Herbicides, while effective, are not a good solution for weed control in the long run. Herbicide resistance is only one of the many problems you will face if you are depending completely on chemicals for weed removal. Even if you are not facing this particular issue, it’s always good to consider the viability of some of these techniques on your farm.