Economic Impact of Uncontrolled Weeds

(Anita Dille) What we asked scientists around the US and Canada was to give us up to 10 individual trials per year between 2007 and 2013 where they looked at an untreated check. How much yield did they get from a plot where they didn’t control weeds and then their best weed control plot. And we took that difference to calculate how much yield loss happens. And so the idea was they did everything right to produce their crop. They fertilized it, the best seed, irrigated it, whatever they needed to do but they just didn’t control the weeds and so we could see what kind of loss impact that would have. So the economic impact, we saw a lot of changes in our commodity prices during that time frame that we were looking at but we took an average and for corn it was $4.94 a bushel across those five years. And we saw the impact. If we’d lost 50% of our yield due to weeds that it was close to 27 billion dollars just for corn on an annual basis. So, in a year if we didn’t do weed control we lose 27 billion dollars at that price. At soybeans it was about $10 a bushel for that same timeframe and we were going to lose close to 16 billion dollars. So in total, with no weed control on an annual basis, we could lose over 43 billion dollars in economic value. In Kansas we expect about two and a half million acres of corn harvested on an annual basis and we’re looking about 46% average yield loss. So again almost half of that yield production on those acres is lost and that was equal to 500 million dollars just for the State of Kansas alone if we didn’t do weed control on our corn crops. On average over the last six years between 2007 and 2013 we harvested about three and a half million acres of soybeans and our yield loss estimate is about 52%. So, that was equal to over 600 million dollars lost in our soybeans if we didn’t manage those weeds here in Kansas. This was just a chance to really summarize and capture what the weeds were doing on a national picture. So again between Canada and the US just what kind of impact do these weeds have and to emphasize that we are seeing dramatic reductions in research support and funding for the kind of work that we need to do and want to emphasize that these weeds are still having such a huge role that we really are looking for support to help develop better management practices, alternative management practices because these weeds are still really causing that kind of impact.

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