University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


In Arkansas Delta soybean production, glyphosate resistant (GR) Palmer amaranth has significantly impacted weed management. The incidence of herbicide resistant (HR) weeds has farreaching crop science, economic, and communications implications, which have been explored by the corresponding expertise of our research team members to form a comprehensive literature review. The review was used to develop policy recommendations to address current and future HR genetically modified (GM) crop use and the associated issues. The review of crop science research indicated an overall increase in herbicide application, as well as an increase in weed management programs focused around glyphosate rather than the application of multiple herbicides. The review also revealed some management methods have potential to resolve the problem, including alternating herbicide application, avoiding sub-lethal rates, using “burn down” herbicides prior to planting, crop rotation, tillage, and zero tolerance weed policies. The use of fewer herbicides rather than multiple types creates a monopolistic edge for the companies producing those few herbicides, allowing greater market control. Crisis communication methods, including developing internal readiness, conducting needs assessments, developing a relevant message, and conveying the message through appropriate channels, can be used to develop a response to the issue that will best communicate necessary information to the target audience. The team used these findings to formulate policy recommendations, which include management, economic, and communication plans that may provide a starting point to address the issue.