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Loss of Glyphosate Efficacy: A Changing Weed Spectrum in Georgia Cotton

  • Theodore M. Webster (a1) and Lynn M. Sosnoskie (a2)

Introduction of glyphosate resistance into crops through genetic modification has revolutionized crop protection. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide with favorable environmental characteristics and effective broad-spectrum weed control that has greatly improved crop protection efficiency. However, in less than a decade, the utility of this technology is threatened by the occurrence of glyphosate-tolerant and glyphosate-resistant weed species. Factors that have contributed to this shift in weed species composition in Georgia cotton production are reviewed, along with the implications of continued overreliance on this technology. Potential scenarios for managing glyphosate-resistant populations, as well as implications on the role of various sectors for dealing with this purported tragedy of the commons, are presented. Benghal dayflower, a glyphosate-tolerant species, continues to spread through Georgia and surrounding states, whereas glyphosate susceptibility in Palmer amaranth is endangered in Georgia and other cotton-producing states in the southern United States. Improved understanding of how glyphosate susceptibility in our weed species spectrum was compromised (either through occurrence of herbicide-tolerant or -resistant weed species) may allow us to avoid repeating these mistakes with the next herbicide-resistant technology.

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