NC State Extension

What Is a Superweed?

Superweed is a a relatively recent term that is generally not used by weed scientists or other agricultural scientists. Superweed was coined to reflect what weed scientist call weed resistance. I made a video about superweeds that can watch here. Andrew Kniss, a professor at the University of Wyoming wrote a good blog called Where are the Superweeds?

The chart below is from Dr. Kniss’s blog. This chart shows that resistant weeds (superweeds) existed prior to the introduction of biotech crops and after the introduction. Notice that the rate of new cases of weed resistance (superweeds) increased more rapidly before the introduction of crop biotechnology. Weed resistance (superweeds) like resistance to antibiotics, fungicides or insecticides, is due to overuse of a herbicide, not biotechnology. Farming systems that rely on the same pesticides used over and over will likely lead to resistance, whether or not they involve biotechnology. Alternating herbicide modes of action from year and/or including additional modes of action within a season can reduce the likelihood of herbicide resistance.

Keith Edmisten, Professor of Crop Science

graph of Herbicide Resistance Over Time

Written By

Photo of Dr. Keith EdmistenDr. Keith EdmistenProfessor of Crop Science & Extension Cotton Specialist (919) 515-4069 keith_edmisten@ncsu.eduCrop and Soil Sciences - NC State University
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