Having grown up on a farm, there are several things about farming I just seem to know, some I have learned along the way and many more I am still learning as I go.
One of the learning moments I still remember from my younger years was that shortly after my local cooperative sprayed a field of soybeans, the beans turned brown, and I thought they were surely dead.
When I had a chance to ask my father what had happened, he laughed and informed me that the entire field was becoming overgrown with weeds; the spray would kill the unwanted weeds and only set the soybeans back a couple of days.
As I grew older, I came to understand that controlling weeds in soybeans is not an easy task and is even almost impossible for some weed species.
That was until the mid-’90s, when Roundup Ready soybeans entered the market. Roundup Ready soybeans worked well because Roundup is a very safe chemical to handle. It’s very stable and breaks down quickly, reducing the chances for off-site contamination, and it’s a very broad-spectrum herbicide that takes care of even the hardest-to-control weeds. Most important, it is a simple system to use and implement on the farm.
Everything has its drawbacks, though. For Roundup Ready soybeans, the biggest challenge was their success. Because Roundup worked so well and was so simple to use, it became an easy way to control weeds in soybean crops — in many cases, the only way.
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