Agriculture has seen a lot of changes in the last 25 years, says Brad Minton, Syngenta Specialty Crop Product Evaluation, Houston, Texas.
Many of those advances have paralleled the creation and growth of the Texas Plant Protection Association (TPPA), which celebrates its 25th annual conference Dec. 10 and 11 at the Brazos Center in College Station.
Minton cites herbicide resistance crops, new herbicides, insect resistant varieties, seed treatments and global positioning system (GPS) agriculture as key advancements in the last quarter century.
“Round-up Ready and Liberty Link are two of the best changes for producers,” he said. “But now we have to deal with herbicide tolerant weeds.”
He said herbicides with new modes of action have allowed farmers to go from “pounds of active ingredient to grams per acre. That’s a significant benefit.”
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Producers now have products that are easier to handle and are effective at much lower rates, improving efficiency and with less impact on the environment.
Bt cotton and corn have also improved production economy, Minton added.
“We also now have a full package of seed treatments available that improves efficiency and allows growers to get away from granular application to easy-to-use boxes.
“And GPS technology, including land preparation, spraying and harvest, increases productivity.”
He says farmers are “getting better yields from better varieties.”
But farmers face new challenges, including pest resistance. “Challenges also represent opportunities for the next advancements,” Minton said. “Changing irrigation practice will be critical. We will see more split pivots (different crops, requiring different irrigation demands planted in portions of pivot circles). We also expect to see more subsurface drip irrigation.”
Minton said technology also will provide varieties that are more water efficient. And companies like the ones that created and nurtured TPPA will remain in the forefront of new developments, advances and new production systems, he said.