crop biotechnology a weed science perspective
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Crop Biotechnology: a Weed Science Perspective. Harold D. Coble IPM Coordinator, USDA/OPMP [email protected] My Perspective. Reared on small diversified farm in 1940s-50s Very familiar with the drudgery of hand hoeing College degrees in agronomy & weed science

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my perspective
My Perspective
  • Reared on small diversified farm in 1940s-50s
  • Very familiar with the drudgery of hand hoeing
  • College degrees in agronomy & weed science
  • Weed science extension & research for 30 yrs
  • Always been a farmer at heart
  • A proponent of IPM – USDA IPM Coordinator

And, for many reasons,

I believe in conserving

our natural resources

Photo credit USDA/NRCS


Pest management

is all about crop

yield and quality

preservation and

ease of harvest.

Photo credit USDA/NRCS

pest management strategies the pams approach
Pest Management StrategiesThe PAMS Approach
  • Prevention
    • Cultural practices to keep pests out
  • Avoidance
    • Cultural practices to avoid or resist pest impact
  • Monitoring
    • What is present and how many
  • Suppression
    • Kill ‘em if you need to
pest suppression options
Pest Suppression Options
  • Physical
    • Hand Weeding
    • Mechanical Cultivation
    • Other (mulches, , traps, etc.)
  • Biological
    • Insects, Bacteria, Fungi, Biochemicals
  • Chemical
    • Chemical Pesticides
    • Pheromones
chemical weed control
Chemical Weed Control
  • Historical non-selective chemicals (NaCl)
  • Key to chemical use is selectivity
    • Development of 2,4-D in 1940s
    • Research programs for selective herbicides
    • Rapid expansion of chemical use in 1960s &70s
    • ~100% major crop acreage treated today
attaining selectivity
Attaining Selectivity
  • Massive chemical screening programs
  • Selection in crop breeding programs
    • Tracy soybean
  • Non-transgenic methods
    • Sethoxydim-tolerant corn (tissue culture)
    • STS soybean
  • Transgenic technologies (Biotech)

Western Corn Rootworm Adult

Photo credit USDA/ARS

why the rapid adoption herbicide tolerant crops
Why the Rapid Adoption?Herbicide Tolerant Crops
  • Lower cost of weed control, even with technology fees
  • Greatly simplified control procedures
  • Higher degree of weed control
  • Fewer chemical applications = less trips
  • Promotes more sustainable cultural practices
    • Less tillage, less compaction, narrower rows
  • Societal aspects (pride, landowner acceptance)
why the rapid expansion insect protection pips
Why the Rapid Expansion?Insect Protection (PIPs)
  • High degree of control of target species
  • Safety to beneficial species
  • Human and environmental safety
    • Food/Feed safety
    • Applicator safety
    • Wildlife safety
  • Simplicity of control measures

PIPs aimed at the

major insect pest


Photo credit USDA/ARS



protectants designed

to avoid harm to


Photo credit USDA/ARS

what s the downside herbicide tolerant crops
What’s the Downside?Herbicide Tolerant Crops
  • Weed species shifts if integrated approach not used
    • Prevention and avoidance strategies
    • Continued field monitoring
    • Alternative chemical mode of action
  • Reduced availability of alternative MOAs
  • Temptation to just plant and spray


resistance is

a fact of life

Photo Craig Chism, Univ. of TN

what s the downside pips
What’s the Downside?PIPs
  • Risk of resistance development/selection
    • Major concern of organic community
  • Increased cost if populations below EIL
    • Protection present whether needed or not
  • Have led to secondary pest resurgence
    • Stinkbugs in cotton

Tarnished Plant Bug

Photo credit USDA/ARS


Where do we go from here?


Chicken feed,

or Plastic??

Photo credit USDA/NRCS


Meat, Milk, or Pharmaceuticals???

Photo credit USDA/NRCS


We’ve only just begun…

Photo credit USDA/NRCS