What is the Iowa Pest Resistance Management Program?
Focus weeds for Harrison County Pest Resistance Project
The Harrison County Pest Resistance Project initially began in 2017 as a result of the introduction of Palmer amaranth in the county four years prior. As most farmers in the area are grappling with herbicide resistant weeds but do not have Palmer in their fields yet, the project was expanded to include waterhemp, marestail, and giant ragweed. Read below to learn more about these weeds and why they were included in this project.
The Harrison County landscape includes both hills and valleys. Farming techniques differ depending on the topography of the farm because what works in the valleys does not work in the hills and vice versa. Tillage is not used in the Loess Hills but it is in the bottoms.As seen in 2019, flooding on the Missouri River bottoms is a significant challenge that affects management. Deposition of sand affects how locals farm, and weed seeds are spread during flooding as well. The high water table affects other aspects of management.
What’s the deal with pest resistance?
Pests – insects, disease and weeds -- are a regular part of life. For large areas, our pest removal practices have included spraying safe pesticides or relying on plant genetics to manage them. But many pests can reproduce quickly and often, allowing them to evolve and develop tolerance to some of our easiest, cheapest and most effective management tools. Some pests are completely tolerant to some pesticides. When this occurs, it is called pest resistance, because they can now resist and survive a specific management tactic that previously controlled them.
Pest resistance is a natural process. However, when it comes to something as valuable as our food and when there’s no easy way to fight a pest, it can lead to yield reductions and increasing costs. Farmers, landowners, scientists, private businesses, and groups of individuals are finding ways to preserve our management tools, prevent pest resistance, and develop management strategies for already resistant pests.
The Story County Farm Resistance Network formed in 2019 in response to weeds that are becoming more difficult to control. The group shares common goals: to preserve the effectiveness of management tools and to encourage others to help. So far, the team members include farmers, COOP advisers, ag retailer reps and ISU Extension. A video has been created to introduce the team (below).
The Iowa Pest Resistance Management Program is a grassroots, collaborative effort to protect Iowa crops from costly pest resistance that threatens our crop production and our state’s economy. The program is made up of individuals and groups representing all parts of the Iowa community, including farmers and landowners, small and national businesses, scientists, researchers and state regulators. Together, these groups and individuals have leveraged their resources, expertise and time to help inform the public about pest resistance, find new pest management strategies and encourage public support and adoption of these practices.
How can you get involved?
The Iowa Pest Resistance Management Program (IPRMP) was designed for you to get involved. The program features four pilot programs across the state that are working to combat various types of pest resistance. These include: Managing Western Corn Rootworm in Northeast Iowa; the Harrison County Pest Resistance Management Project in Southwest Iowa; Managing Soybean Aphid in Northwest Iowa; and Managing Herbicide-Resistant Waterhemp in Story County. To learn more about the IPRMP and the pilot programs, check out the Q&A here. To learn how you can lend your support or develop your own community project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.