Most publications have a “news item” about the latest resistance problem to hit farming and they are cyclical.
How often do you pick up a periodical and you read the comments made by a spokesperson of authority about resistance and the latest news or the latest discovery about it? Every season there is talk about internal parasite resistance, lice resistance, weed resistance/persistent weeds, mite resistance (RLEM) , rust resistance to name a few.
Resistance is regarded as the norm. It’s like a part of farming. Every farmer expects resistance.
Of course we have costly scientific research on how to combat, investigate and understand it. New products to combat it are invented and developed which are often more expensive than the previous ones which have become less and less effective with repeated use. New methods and programs and a combination of procedures are devised to put off total resistance.
The spokesperson, usually a scientist, researcher or lecturer who is funded by valuable financial resources coming from farmers’ levies, tax payers or commercial vested interest, will present their latest findings within their particular or often narrow area of expertise about the subject of resistance and on how to best go about handling the resistance problem.
At this stage let’s look at some fundamentals. These researchers usually work to specific parameters, usually set by vested interests and the culture in which they work. They are given a problem and told to find a solution by developing another product. There is little or no directive to study farms where no resistance occurs. Why?
What would you sooner do? What is more economical?
Keep using commercial products to combat the resistance ongoingly or get to the real cause of the problem and rectify it? Some farmers say that the problem is there because they failed to apply a commercial product but in reality the problem is there because the cause has not been correctly treated.
When farmers look at the cause, are willing to rectify the cause, are willing to seek a little information on the cause and to put some steps into place – the resistance does not occur.
When farmers farm biologically and have achieved a balanced, healthy soil they rarely experience resistance problems.
What makes more sense?
Applying commercial products ongoingly to avoid resistance or taking time to acquire a little bit of new knowledge for yourself, putting that into action and not experiencing costly resistance?
Farmers do not have to go down the path of treating resistance problems.