Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service Officials Ask for Your Help in Controlling Palmer amaranth

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant physiologist Franck Dayan observes wild-type and herbicide-resistant biotypes of Palmer Amaranth (pigweed) as Mississippi State University graduate student, Daniela Ribeiro collects samples for DNA analysis at the ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford, Miss. USDA photo by Stephen Ausmus.

By Chris Beyerhelm, Acting Administrator, Farm Service Agency and Leonard Jordan, Acting Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service

USDA has learned that Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), an invasive weed, may have infested some newly-seeded (2016) conservation plantings across the upper Midwest. Palmer amaranth is highly competitive, and in fact, is the most competitive of the pigweed species. It grows rapidly and one plant can produce a quarter-million seeds.

We are concerned that this weed may cause conservation planting stand failure and spread from conservation plantings into crop fields. It can greatly inhibit crop growth. Yield losses have been reported at up to 91 percent for corn and 79 percent for soybeans. It can also be toxic to livestock because there is nitrate in the leaves.

If you find, or think you have found, Palmer amaranth in your conservation planting, contact your crop consultant, the State Department of Agriculture, and extension specialists in your area. If you are considering a conservation planting this spring, consider testing your seed for “all states noxious weed seeds.” Monitor your planting throughout the growing season. Also, the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service are ready and willing to help you with ongoing conservation planning efforts for your operation. Feel free to reach out to our field staff at any time.

Remember, the presence of Palmer amaranth does not necessarily constitute a stand failure. Working together, we can control or even eradicate this weed and help ensure that your conservation planting is performing to its full potential, and that crop fields are protected.

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7 Responses to Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service Officials Ask for Your Help in Controlling Palmer amaranth

  1. Alan & Sharon Beougher says:

    Would you post a picture of this weed so we know what to look for.???

  2. Estelle Scott says:

    A better picture of exactly what to look for would be most helpful. I would be glad to keep a lookout but from the picture above I’d likely pull out the wrong plant. I am not a botanist and am a rather ignorant gardener.

  3. stasha kalugin says:

    It would be nice to have a at least a photo of the weed, at least we would know what to watch .

  4. Randy Soileau says:

    Hopefully individuals who encounter Palmer amaranth in a new location do so before it reaches maturity as shown in the link in the first paragraph. Individuals need to able to identify it in the seedling stage and pull it up before the plant makes seed. “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”.

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