NC State University graduate students win weed science awards

by Dee Shore, NC State University

Commonly referred to as pigweed, Palmer amaranth is one of the biggest production challenges farmers in the Southeast face. At NC State, scientists and graduate students are making progress toward lessening the weed’s impact in a range of crops.

Two of those students, Cole Smith and Nicholas Basinger, were recognized recently at the Weed Science Society of North Carolina for research they’ve conducted on Palmer amaranth and other destructive weeds. Smith won the society’s M.S. outstanding graduate student award, while Basinger won the Ph.D. student award. Continue reading

Kansas State researchers discover how plants develop glyphosate resistance quickly

Kansas State University researchers have discovered how weeds develop resistance to the popular herbicide glyphosate, a finding that could have broad future implications in agriculture and many other industries.

Their work is detailed in an article that appears in the March 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, known as PNAS and considered to be one of the most-cited journals for scientific research in the world. According to its website, PNAS receives more than 21 million hits per month. Continue reading

IPM Enhancement Grant projects examine agricultural, urban issues

The Southern IPM Center will spend $309,653 to address agricultural and urban issues during the next year with its IPM Enhancement Grant. Out of 32 proposals submitted to the program, a review panel outside of the region selected 11 for funding.

IPM Enhancement Grants are relatively small grants (up to $30,000 for most) to address an integrated pest management issue. Most publicly funded organizations are eligible to apply as long as they reside in one of the 13 states or territories covered by the Southern IPM Center. Continue reading

USDA research finds conservation tillage works better after first year

In Southeast Farm Press

An onslaught of the weed Palmer amaranth in the southeastern United States has left many farmers wondering if they should continue using environmentally friendly cover crops and conservation tillage or switch to conventional tillage.

Palmer amaranth is aggressive, drought tolerant, a prolific seed producer, and capable of developing resistance to glyphosate, known as Roundup. Because of that, thousands of acres in Alabama and elsewhere are at risk of being converted to conventional tillage, which may better control the weed, but increases soil erosion and threatens long-term soil productivity.  Continue reading

Scientists find time of day makes a difference with some herbicides

In Southeast Farm Press

What if a cotton producer needed to spray early in the morning or late in the afternoon or at night? Does the time of day a herbicide is applied make a difference in how well it works? A group of weed specialists studied this and what they found surprised them.

The group included scientists from the University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Continue reading

University of Illinois Plant Clinic announces Palmer amaranth seed ID and herbicide resistance plant tissue testing

Last summer, farmers in the Midwest got an unwelcome surprise after planting native seed on Conservation Reserve Program acres. Palmer amaranth is an aggressive and hard-to-kill weed. As a possible solution, some states declared Palmer a noxious weed, which prohibits its sale and transport.

The typical testing method involves growing a sample of seeds until the plants are large enough to be identified, but this is a slow and potentially unreliable process. Pat Tranel, molecular weed scientist at the University of Illinois, said growers are calling and telling him, their businesses are up in the air because of this.” Unless they have a way to certify their product is Palmer-free, they can’t sell it,” said Tranel. There is a company that tests individual seeds using DNA sequencing, but charges $100 per seed. Continue reading

New National Pest Alert for Palmer Amaranth released

A new National Pest Alert for Palmer Amaranth has been released. This pest alert has been approved by the national leadership of USDA NRCS to address the recent problems with Palmer Amaranth seed inclusion in wildflower and pollinator seed mixes. Ultimately, decisions must be made at the local level to address the issue of Palmer amaranth in pollinator habitats, field edges and conservation plantings.

http://ncipmc.org/action/alerts/palmer.php