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

Arkansas farmer finds cover crops successfully keep out pigweed

In Delta Farm Press

The dominant soil type on Adam Chappell’s Cotton Plant, Ark., farm is a sandy loam. Chappell is persistent and insistent in trying to make that soil better.

He’s found the main way to do that is the use of cover crops. 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

Weed control economical, yield-critical in corn

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Just how much water are weeds using in a corn crop, and is it more economical to treat or not is the focus of a Texas A&M AgriLife study.

Dr. Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist in Amarillo, and her Texas A&M AgriLife Research graduate student Aislinn Walton have found in early results heavy weed pressure could result in a 100-bushels-per acre yield loss on a corn crop. Continue reading

More precautions needed when spraying with dicamba and 2,4-D

From the Weed Science Society of America

New resistant soybean and cotton cropping systems based on the synthetic auxin herbicides give farmers new options for managing Palmer amaranth and other broadleaf weeds resistant to glyphosate. But scientists with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) say special precautions are necessary. Auxin herbicides are known to drift and to cause harm to sensitive, off-target broadleaf plants.

“Concerns about drift led the U.S. EPA to issue time-limited registrations for the auxin herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D of two years and five years respectively,” says Kevin Bradley, Ph.D., past president of WSSA and associate professor at the University of Missouri. “The approved product labels have considerable detail on management of drift and other risks and must be carefully followed to reduce off site movement. Unless growers show they can use these herbicides as labeled, the registrations could easily be revoked.” 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