Do you know an agronomist who has been instrumental in the fight against resistance in your area? Through September 15, Syngenta is accepting applications for the 2014 class of the Resistance Fighter of the Year Leadership Program.
Now in its sixth year, the purpose of the program is to honor forward-thinking advisors who are passionate about helping growers manage resistance, and to create a network where these advisors can communicate with one another about resistance management strategies that have proven successful in their areas.
This year's program reflects a wider range of challenges on farms across the U.S., says Syngenta Communications Lead, Melissa Lord. "In the past, the Resistance Fighter of the Year Leadership Program focused solely on herbicide resistance management – but we recognize that growers must also think about potential resistance to other pests as well," Lord says. "This year, we've expanded the program to include those advisors who have made significant efforts to help growers manage resistance to fungicides, insecticides, and nematicides as well."
Impact of resistance
According to Les Glasgow, Ph.D., Syngenta herbicide technical product lead, estimating yield loss due to resistance is difficult, but some university studies have been able to with some of the most competitive weeds. Research at Oklahoma State University demonstrated eight Palmer amaranth plants per 3.35 feet of row reduced cotton lint yield by 92%. Purdue University found competition from waterhemp reduced soybean yield by 44%, and Ohio State demonstrated two giant ragweed plants per 110 square feet reduced corn yield by up to 13%.
"The cost of resistance to the grower can be significant with an increase of up to $20 or more per acre for additional herbicides and up to $100 per acre for hand weeding, where suitable herbicides are unavailable," Glasgow says.
Tony Burd, Ph.D., Syngenta product biology technical manager of insecticide resistance management, says in the U.S., it's estimated over a billion dollars of traits and insecticide market value are at risk of moderate to severe insect resistance problems.
"By 2020, that threat is expected to increase substantially," Byrd says. "Due to the limited availability of different modes of action, it is imperative to continue to develop novel modes of action and holistic approaches to managing insect pests for the market place."
Allison Tally, Ph.D., Syngenta fungicide technical product lead, says managing plant disease is similar to managing infectious disease in humans – the more weapons, the better.
"When resistance occurs to an effective fungicide, the 'weapons' left must shoulder more of the burden of controlling the population of spores," she says. "Cultural practices such as variety selection, water and fertility management, and planting times are also important tools in reducing the population."
County extension agents, consultants, and other agronomists who have successfully implemented resistance management practices with producers in their area are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. Program applicants should have an in-depth understanding of one or more types of resistance and work proactively to ensure grower success by implementing good stewardship practices and reducing the impact of resistant weeds, insects, diseases, and nematodes.
Starting with the class of 2009, the Resistance Fighter of the Year Leadership Program has honored two advisors each year. Currently, there are ten Resistance Fighters in the program who advise growers across the southern and Midwestern U.S.
"As a county extension agent, being recognized as an expert in weed resistance management has positively impacted my career," says Jeremy Kichler, 2009 Resistance Fighter of the Year winner and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension County Agent in Oglethorpe, Georgia. "I would tell a peer interested in applying for the Resistance Fighter of the Year Leadership Program that it's a great opportunity to travel, learn, and interact with and develop networking opportunities with other experts in the industry. It will give you a great opportunity to advance and enrich your career."
Please visit www.resistancefighter.com to recommend an advisor or apply for the program. Applications will be accepted until September 15, 2014.