A glimpse of the future?
Bob Hartzler

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January 23, 2003
In 1905 George Santayana stated:  "Those who cannot remember their past are condemned to repeat it".  This quote struck me when I saw the following John Deere ad in a recent  Wallaces Farmer.  The caption on the photo states:  'No. 7 engine-driven combine with weed seed cleaner attachment, 1936'.  Weed seed cleaners were common on combines of the past and separated weed seed from chaff and crop seed.  Rather than blow the weed seed back onto the field, the seed was collected on the combine and then could be burned, fed to animals or destroyed in some other fashion.  As weed management programs improved, the need for these cleaners diminished and they were removed from combines.

While it is difficult to imagine going back to this technology, it has indeed happened in other areas of the world.  The presence of herbicide resistance rigid ryegrass in wheat producing areas of Western Australia has forced farmers to resort to collecting weed seed as they harvest their crop.  Most persons acknowledge that the heavy reliance on herbicides in Midwest corn and soybean production will lead to selection of additional herbicide resistant biotypes.  Although herbicide resistant weeds have not been a major issue for most Iowa farmers, there is no doubt that they could become economically important in the future.  Because of this, herbicides should be viewed as valuable resources and be used in a manner that reduces the likelihood of resistance problems.


Copied from Wallaces Farmer, January 2003, p 25. 

Prepared by Bob Hartzler, extension weed management specialist, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University

For more information contact:
ISU Extension Agronomy
2104 Agronomy Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1010
Voice: (515) 294-1923
Fax: (515) 294-9985
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Common chemical and trade names are used in this publication. The use of trade names is for clarity by the reader. Inclusion of a trade name does not imply endorsement of that particular brand of herbicide and exclusion does not imply nonapproval.