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Glyphosate-Resistant Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) Increases Herbicide Use, Tillage, and Hand-Weeding in Georgia Cotton

  • Lynn M. Sosnoskie (a1) and A. Stanley Culpepper (a1)


In 2005, the existence of glyphosate-resistance in Palmer amaranth was confirmed at a single 250 ha field site in Macon County, Georgia. Currently, all cotton producing counties in Georgia are infested, to some degree, with glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. In 2010 and 2011, surveys were administered to Georgia growers and extension agents to determine how the development of glyphosate-resistance has affected weed management in cotton. According to respondents, the numbers of cotton acres that were treated with paraquat, glufosinate and residual herbicides effective against Palmer amaranth more than doubled between 2000 to 2005 and 2006 to 2010. Glyphosate use declined between 2000 to 2005 and 2006 to 2010 although, on average, the active ingredient was still applied to a majority of cotton acres. Although grower herbicide input costs have more than doubled following the evolution and spread of glyphosate resistance, chemically-based control of Palmer amaranth is still not adequate. As a consequence, Georgia cotton growers hand weeded 52% of the crop at an average cost of $57 per hand-weeded ha; this represents a cost increase of at least 475% as compared to the years prior to resistance. In addition to increased herbicide use and hand weeding, growers in Georgia are also using mechanical, in-crop cultivation (44% of acres), tillage for the incorporation of preplant herbicides (20% of the acres), and post-harvest deep-turning (19% of the acres every three years) for weed control. Current weed management systems are more diverse, complex and expensive than those employed only a decade ago, but are effective at controlling glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in glyphosate-resistant cotton. The success of these programs may be related to producers improved knowledge about herbicide resistance, and the biological attributes that make Palmer amaranth so challenging, as well as their ability to implement their management programs in a timely manner.


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