It's brought farmers back to past practices as they find ways to deal with its resistance to glyphosate.
In the past few years, pigweed has become the No. 1 problem for farmers in the Mid-South. It's spread from a patch to a full-blown infestation has sent farmers, Extension, researchers and companies back to the drawing board.
The solutions they've come up with so far reflect a movement to older chemistries and equipment.
One such piece of equipment is the hooded sprayer. It was only a few years ago that farmers heard the mantra that they would "park their hoods under the trees."
With the pernicious nature of pigweed, the use of residual herbicides as well as the hooded sprayer have returned to common practice in the field.
In the pre-Roundup Ready days of the 1990s, Steve Claussen developed the Redball hooded sprayer.
Late last year, he rolled out a newer version designed specifically for pigweed.
"The earlier versions were regarded as salvage operations," Claussen says. "Then came Roundup Ready Flex and the hoods were parked under the trees."
The advent of pigweed problems however forced a rethinking. Claussen combined the best parts of two models and created the 915 Willmar Hooded Sprayer.
Working with Monsanto and key farmers in the Mid-South and Southeast, Claussen designed a hooded sprayer to take on even big pigweeds.
The difference, Claussen says, is the shape of the hood. It provides etter coverage and less damage to the plants.
"The 915 has two knockdown bards, front and rear, that will lay larger pigweeds over and get them sprayed with a contact herbicide," Claussen says. "The units also have rods that are a half-inch in diameter on the front end that gather tall weeds into the hood."
Equipped with springs that place increased pressure on the hoods, the 915 allows grows to operate at faster speeds.
"The new design allows growes to use the same unit early in the season and at layby," Claussen says.