Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-6c8bd87754-sbrr8 Total loading time: 0.256 Render date: 2022-01-18T20:47:12.765Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Economic Barriers to Herbicide-Resistance Management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Terrance M. Hurley*
University of Minnesota, 231 Ruttan Hall, St. Paul, MN 55108
George Frisvold
The University of Arizona, 319 Chávez Building, Tucson, AZ 85721
Corresponding author's E-mail:
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]


HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Herbicide-resistant weeds are the result of evolutionary processes that make it easy to think about the problem from a purely biological perspective. Yet, the act of weed management, guided by human production of food and fiber, drives this biological process. Thus, the problem is socioeconomic as well as biological. The purpose of this article is to explain how well-known socioeconomic phenomena create barriers to herbicide-resistance management and highlight important considerations for knocking down these barriers. The key message is that the multidimensional problem requires a multifaceted approach that recognizes differences among farmers; engages the regulatory, academic, extension, seed and chemical suppliers, and farmer communities; and aligns the diverse interests of the members of these communities with a common goal that benefits all—more sustainable weed management. It also requires an adaptive approach that transitions from moreuniform and costly standards and incentives, which can be effective in the near-term but are unsustainable, to more-targeted and less-costly approaches that are sustainable in the long term.

Research Article
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright © 2016 by the Weed Science Society of America


Associate Editor for this paper: Sarah Ward, Colorado State University.


Bonny, S (2007) Genetically modified glyphosate-tolerant soybean in the USA: adoption factors, impacts and prospects: a review. Agron Sustain Dev 28: 2132Google Scholar
Busi, R, Yu, Q, Barrett-Lennard, R, Powles, SB (2008) Long distance pollen-mediated flow of herbicide resistance genes in Lolium rigidum. Theor Appl Genet 117: 12811290Google Scholar
Carpenter, J, Gianessi, L (1999) Herbicide tolerant soybeans: why growers are adopting roundup ready varieties. AGBIOFORUM 2: 6372Google Scholar
Clark, CW (1976) Mathematical Bioeconomics: The Optimal Control of Renewable Resources. New York: J. Wiley, 363 pGoogle Scholar
Dasgupta, PS, Heal, GM (1980) Economic Theory and Exhaustible Resources. New York: Cambridge University Press, 516 pGoogle Scholar
Ervin, D, Jussaume, R (2014) Integrating social science into managing herbicide-resistant weeds and associated environmental impacts. Weed Sci 62: 403414Google Scholar
Fernandez-Cornejo, J, Hallahan, C, Nehring, R, Wechsler, S, Grube, A (2012) Conservation tillage, herbicide use, and genetically engineered crops in the United States: the case of soybeans. Agbioforum 15: 231241Google Scholar
Fernandez-Cornejo, J, Hendricks, C, Mishra, A (2005) Technology adoption and off-farm household income: the case of herbicide-tolerant soybeans. J Agric Appl Econ. 37: 549563Google Scholar
Fernandez-Cornejo, J, Mishra, A, Nehring, R, Hendricks, C, Southern, M, Gregory, A (2007) Off-Farm Income, Technology Adoption, and Farm Economic Performance. Washington, DC: USDA, Economic Research Service Report 36,Google Scholar
Fisher, AC (1981) Resource and Environmental Economics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 304 pGoogle Scholar
Foresman, C, Glasgow, L (2008) Grower perceptions and experiences with glyphosate resistant weeds. Pest Manag Sci 64: 388391Google Scholar
Frisvold, GB, Reeves, JM (2008) The costs and benefits of refuge requirements: the case of Bt cotton. Ecol Econ 65: 8797Google Scholar
Frisvold, GB, Reeves, JM (2010) Resistance management and sustainable use of agricultural biotechnology. Agbioforum 13: 343359Google Scholar
Gardner, JG, Nehring, RF, Nelson, CH (2009) Genetically modified crops and household labor savings in US crop production. Agbioforum 12: 303312Google Scholar
Gould, F (1995) Comparisons between resistance management strategies for insects and weeds. Weed Technol 9: 830839Google Scholar
Green, JM (2009) Evolution of glyphosate-resistant crop technology. Weed Sci 57: 108117Google Scholar
Green, JM (2012) The benefits of herbicide-resistant crops. Pest Manag Sci 68: 13231331Google Scholar
Green, JM (2014) Current state of herbicides in herbicide-resistant crops. Pest Manag Sci 70: 13511357Google Scholar
Green, JM, Hazel, CB, Forney, DR, Pugh, LM (2008) New multiple-herbicide crop resistance and formulation technology to augment the utility of glyphosate. Pest Manag Sci 64: 332339Google Scholar
Hanson, BD, Shrestha, A, Shaner, DL (2009) Distribution of glyphosate resistant horseweed (Conyza canadensis) and relationship to cropping systems in the central valley of California. Weed Sci 57: 4853Google Scholar
Hardin, G (1968) The tragedy of the commons. Science 162: 12431248Google Scholar
Heap, IM (2015) International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Accessed June 6, 2015Google Scholar
Hidayat, I, Baker, J, Preston, C (2006) Pollen-mediated gene flow between paraquat-resistant and susceptible hare barley (Hordeum leporinum). Weed Sci 54: 685689Google Scholar
Hurley, TM, Mitchell, PD (2014) Value of Insect Pest Management to U.S. and Canadian Corn, Soybean and Canola Farmers. Accessed March 1, 2015Google Scholar
Hurley, TM, Mitchell, PD, Frisvold, GB (2009a) Weed management costs, weed best management practices, and the Roundup Ready® weed management program. Agbioforum 12: 281290Google Scholar
Hurley, TM, Mitchell, PD, Frisvold, GB (2009b) Characteristics of herbicides and weed-management programs most important to corn, cotton, and soybean growers. Agbioforum 12: 269280Google Scholar
Llewellyn, RS, Lindner, RK, Pannell, DJ, Powles, SB (2002). Resistance and the herbicide resource: perceptions of Western Australian grain growers. Crop Prot 21: 10671075Google Scholar
Llewellyn, RS, Allen, DM (2006) Expected mobility of herbicide resistance via weed seeds and pollen in a Western Australian cropping region. Crop Prot 25: 520526Google Scholar
Llewellyn, R, Lindner, B, Pannell, D, Powles, S (2006) Adoption of integrated weed management to conserve the herbicide resource: review and framework. Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia. Sustainability and Economics in Agriculture SEA Working Paper 00/06, GRDC Project UWA251Google Scholar
Llewellyn, RS, Lindner, RK, Pannell, DJ, Powles, SB (2007) Herbicide resistance and the adoption of integrated weed management by Western Australian grain growers. Agric Econ 36: 123130Google Scholar
Llewellyn, RS, Pannell, DJ (2009) Managing the herbicide resource: an evaluation of extension on management of herbicide-resistant weeds. Agbioforum 12: 358369Google Scholar
Legleiter, TR, Bradley, KW (2008) Glyphosate and multiple herbicide resistance in common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis) populations from Missouri. Weed Sci 56: 582587Google Scholar
Liu, J, Davis, AS, Tranel, PJ (2012) Pollen biology and dispersal dynamics in waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus). Weed Sci 60: 416422Google Scholar
Lu, Y-Q, Baker, J, Preston, C (2007) The spread of resistance to acetolactate synthase inhibiting herbicides in a wind borne, self-pollinated weed species Lactuca serriola L. Theor Appl Genet 115: 443450Google Scholar
MacDonald, JM, Korb, P, Hoppe, RA (2013) Farm Size and the Organization of U.S. Crop Farming. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service ERR-152Google Scholar
Marra, MC, Piggott, NE, Carlson, GA (2004) The Net Benefits, Including Convenience, of Roundup Ready® Soybeans: Results from a National Survey (NSF Center for IPM Technical Bulletin 2004-3). Raleigh, NC: Center for Integrated Pest Management, 40 pGoogle Scholar
Marsh, SP, Llewellyn, RS, Powles, SB (2006) Social costs of herbicide resistance: the case of resistance to glyphosate. Paper 25413in Proceedings of the 50th Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. Milwaukee, WI: International Association of Agricultural EconomistsGoogle Scholar
McClure, SM, Laibson, DI, Loewenstein, G, Cohen, JD (2004) Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards. Science 306: 503507Google Scholar
Michael, PJ, Owen, MJ, Powles, SB (2010) Herbicide-resistant weed seeds contaminate grain sown in the Western Australian grainbelt. Weed Sci 58: 466472Google Scholar
Miranowski, JA, Carlson, GA (1986) Economic issues in public and private approaches to preserving pest susceptibility. Pages 436448in Committee on Strategies for the Management of Pesticide Resistant Pest Populations, Board on Agriculture, National Research Council, eds. Pesticide Resistance: Strategies and Tactics for Management. Washington, DC: National AcademyGoogle Scholar
Mortensen, DA, Egan, JF, Maxwell, BD, Ryan, MR, Smith, RG (2012) Navigating a critical juncture for sustainable weed management. Bioscience 62: 7584Google Scholar
Munkvold, GP, Watrin, C, Scheller, M, Zeun, R, Olaya, G (2014) Benefits of chemical seed treatments on crop yield and quality. Pages 89103in Global Perspectives on the Health of Seeds and Plant Propagation Material. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: SpringerGoogle Scholar
Murray, BG, Morrison, IN, Friesen, LF (2002) Pollen-mediated gene flow in wild oat. Weed Sci 50: 321325Google Scholar
National Research Council (2010) The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States. Washington, DC: The National AcademiesGoogle Scholar
National Research Council (2012) National Summit on Strategies to Manage Herbicide-Resistant Weeds: Proceedings of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National AcademiesGoogle Scholar
Nordby, D, Harzler, R, Bradley, K (2007) Biology and management of glyphosate-resistant waterhemp. The Glyphosate, Weeds and Crops Series GWC-13. Purdue ExtensionGoogle Scholar
Norsworthy, JK, Ward, SM, Shaw, DR, Llewellyn, RS, Nichols, RL, Webster, TM, Bradley, KW, Frisvold, G, Powles, SB, Burgos, NR, Witt, WW, Barrett, M (2012) Reducing the risks of herbicide resistance: best management practices and recommendations. Weed Sci 60 (spl): 3162Google Scholar
Ollinger, M, Fernandez-Cornejo, J (2010) Regulation and its economic consequences. Pages 338368in Rechcigl, JE, Rechcigl, NA eds. Insect Pest Management: Techniques for Environmental Protection. Boca Raton, FL: CRCGoogle Scholar
Onstad, DW, Mitchell, PD, Hurley, TM, Lundgren, JG, Porter, RP, Krupke, CH, Spencer, JL, DiFonzo, CD, Baute, TS, Hellmich, RL, Buschman, LL, Hutchison, WD, Tooker, JF (2011) Seeds of change: corn seed mixtures for resistance management and integrated pest management. J Econ Entomol 104: 343–332Google Scholar
Pannell, DJ, Zilberman, D (2001) Economic and sociological factors affecting growers’ decision making on herbicide resistance. Pages 252274in Powles, S, Shaner, D eds. Herbicide Resistance and World Grains. Boca Raton, FL: CRCGoogle Scholar
Powles, SB, Preston, C (2006) Evolved glyphosate resistance in plants: biochemical and genetic basis of resistance. Weed Technol 28: 282289Google Scholar
Renton, M, Busi, R, Neve, P, Thornby, D, Vila-Aiub, M (2014) Herbicide resistance modelling: past, present and future. Pest Manag Sci 70: 13941404Google Scholar
Riar, DS, Norsworthy, JK, Steckel, LE, Stephenson, DO, Eubank, TW, Bond, J, Scott, RC (2013) Adoption of best management practices for herbicide-resistant weeds in midsouthern United States cotton, rice, and soybean. Weed Technol 27: 788797Google Scholar
Rieger, MA, Lamond, M, Preston, C, Powles, SB, Roush, RT (2002) Pollen-mediated movement of herbicide resistance between commercial canola fields. Science 296: 23862388Google Scholar
Shi, G (2009) Bundling and licensing of genes in agricultural biotechnology. Am J Agric Econ 91: 264274Google Scholar
Shi, G, Chavas, JP (2011) The effects of vertical organization on the pricing of differentiated products. J Agric Resour Econ 36: 448464Google Scholar
Shi, G, Chavas, JP, Lauer, J. (2013) Commercialized transgenic traits, maize productivity and yield risk. Nat Biotechnol 31: 111114Google Scholar
Smale, M, Zambrano, P, Paz-Ybarnegaray, R, Fernádez-Montaño, W (2012) A case of resistance: herbicide-tolerant soybeans in Bolivia. Agbioforum 15: 191205Google Scholar
Sosnoskie, LM, Webster, TM, Dales, D, Rains, GC, Grey, TL, Culpepper, AS (2009) Pollen grain size, density, and settling velocity for Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri). Weed Sci 57: 404409Google Scholar
Sosnoskie, LM, Webster, TM, Kichler, JM, MacRae, AW, Grey, TL, Culpepper, AS (2012) Pollen-mediated dispersal of glyphosate-resistance in Palmer amaranth under field conditions. Weed Sci 60: 366373Google Scholar
Stiegert, KW, Shi, G, Chavas, JP (2010) Innovation, integration, and the biotechnology revolution in US seed markets. Choices 25 (2)Google Scholar
Sydorovych, O, Marra, MC (2008) Valuing the changes in herbicide risks resulting from adoption of roundup ready soybeans by U.S. farmers: a revealed preference approach. J Agric Appl Econ 40: 777787Google Scholar
Sunding, DL (1996) Measuring the marginal cost of nonuniform environmental regulations. Am J Agric Econ 78: 10981107Google Scholar
Webster, TM, Sosnoskie, LM (2010) Loss of glyphosate efficacy: a changing weed spectrum in Georgia cotton. Weed Sci 58: 7379Google Scholar
Weirich, JW, Shaw, DR, Owen, MD, Dixon, PM, Weller, SC, Young, BG, Wilson, RG, Jordan, DL (2011) Benchmark study on glyphosate-resistant cropping systems in the United States, part 5: effects of glyphosate-based weed management programs on farm level profitability. Pest Manag Sci 67: 781784Google Scholar
Wilson, RS, Tucker, MA, Hooker, NH, Lejeune, JT, Doohan, D (2008) Perceptions and beliefs about weed management: perspectives of Ohio grain and produce farmers. Weed Technol 22: 339350Google Scholar
Yang, W, Khanna, M, Farnsworth, R, Önal, H (2003) Integrating economic, environmental and GIS modeling to target cost effective land retirement in multiple watersheds. Ecol Econ 46: 249267Google Scholar
Yarkin, C, Sunding, D, Zilberman, D, Siebert, J (1994) Methyl bromide regulation: all crops should not be treated equally. Calif Agric 48: 1015Google Scholar
You have Access
Open access
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Economic Barriers to Herbicide-Resistance Management
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Economic Barriers to Herbicide-Resistance Management
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Economic Barriers to Herbicide-Resistance Management
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *