Friday, February 18, 2011

Glyphosate and Manganese and Plant Diseases

There have been some news articles about interactions between glyphosate and manganese (Mn). Other articles have discussed possible links between glyphosate and plant diseases.

Bob Hartzler at Iowa State does an excellent job of summarizing the current scientific research on the subject. His summary can be found at:

As Dr. Hartzler states that one common hypothesis is that glyphosate pulls Mn out of the solution in the leaf tissue, causing a Mn deficiency. However, glyphosate does not cause yield losses in replicated trials, and subsequent foliar Mn applications do not increase yields. On the disease issue, some interactions have been documented in the greenhouse, but nothing consistent has been reported in the field. In some cases, such as Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), soybean variety appears to be much more important than whether or not glyphosate was applied.

No doubt more research will be conducted in this area. Many scientists want to understand if and/or when interactions could occur.  While scientists continue to look at this issue, producers should select varieties and hybrids with tolerance or resistance to plant diseases. Producers who use glyphosate for weed control should also rotate or include herbicides that have other modes of action for weed control.

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