Controlling weeds is one of the biggest obstacles to a good crop of any kind in Louisiana.
Lately that job has been getting tougher as various weeds have become resistant to conventional herbicides.
Lauren Lazaro, an LSU AgCenter weed scientist, is tasked with monitoring for herbicide resistance from her lab on the LSU Baton Rouge campus. Unlike many of the projects that Lazaro works on, this one she views as long term because herbicide resistance is not going away, she said.
“We are tasked with testing weed populations to track resistance in any of our major cropping systems,” she said. “Even if it’s one plant on one farm that needs to be managed, we don’t want any resistance problems that get out of hand.”
As part of her research, Lazaro uses a spray chamber to evaluate different types of weeds for herbicide resistance.
The chamber allows her to apply herbicides in a controlled environment year-round.
“What we do is collect seeds or whole plants to test a wide range of herbicide rates on the suspected resistant population against a known susceptible population for a specific herbicide or group of herbicides,” she said.
The testing service that she provides to growers is free, other than shipping costs, if necessary, she said.
Her lab has no restrictions on who can send in samples. There are a few considerations before collecting samples.
“It’s best to wait until the end of the growing season and send in a sample of mature seeds or plants,” she said. “We also work with LSU AgCenter extension agents to come out and collect samples for you.”
LSU AgCenter weed scientist Lauren Lazaro explains the spray chamber she uses to determine herbicide resistance in weeds. Photo by Johnny Morgan
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture