Herbicide-Resistant 'Super Weeds' Increasingly Plaguing Farmers

Rapid evolution is helping some nasty weeds survive repeated herbicide applications.

Kurt Hembree stands behind horseweeds and talks about their effect on farmers. Scientists like Hembree are trying to develop ways to rid farmers of the weed, which has developed a resistance to herbicide, can tower above grapevines, tangle up fields and choke up irrigation ditches.

Kurt Hembree stands behind horseweeds and talks about their effect on farmers. Scientists like Hembree are trying to develop ways to rid farmers of the weed, which has developed a resistance to herbicide.

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"Both of them are very prolific and can release up to 400,000 seeds," Benbrook says. "Those seeds blow around and move through water — that's what's leading to this rapid geographic spread."

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  • Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at jkoebler@usnews.com.