BACKGROUND: It has been frequently argued that growers have less incentive to manage the evolution and spread of herbicide-resistant weeds on leased than on owned land. This is because resistance management provides long-term rather than short-term benefits that operators may be less assured of capturing on land they do not own. Yet, empirical evidence supporting this argument has been lacking. RESULTS: This study reports on results from a large-scale national survey of weed management and other crop production practices on US agricultural fields. Up to 11 weed management practices were compared across owner-operated versus renter-operated fields. Analysis of survey data from corn and soybean fields did not support the hypothesis that adoption of resistance management practices is lower on rented acres. In most instances, there were no statistically significant differences in herbicide use or weed management practices on rented versus owned land. This was true at both national and regional levels of analysis. Where there were significant differences, practices associated with greater herbicide resistance management were, as often as not, more prevalent on rented than owned land. CONCLUSIONS: A useful area of future research would be to test for land tenure differences in resistance management using multivariate analysis to control for confounding effects. Unobserved farmer or land characteristics may be confounding results and masking land tenure effects. Results here, however, suggest that these other effects are dominating any obvious disincentive effects of land leasing on resistance management. Of greater concern, the adoption of key resistance management practices was low on both owned and rented land.
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- land tenure
- resistance management
- weed management