Iowa farmers need to be on the lookout for Palmer Amaranth, a weed that has caused a lot of problems for many years for farmers in the southern United States. Clarke McGrath, an Iowa State University Extension field agronomist in western Iowa, reports that an ISU-sponsored field day was held last week in his area, focusing on how to correctly identify and manage Palmer Amaranth. The field day was well-attended.
Palmer Amaranth is a hard-to-control weed that in recent years has been marching north and has been found in Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska. It was recently confirmed for the first time in Iowa, having been found and positively identified by ISU weed specialists. It was found in a field near the Missouri River in Harrison County in August. This weed is a relative of pigweed and can be easily confused with waterhemp.
Having seen Palmer Amaranth in the southern U.S. is one thing, but seeing this weed thrive here for the first time is unsettling
McGrath says, "Thanks to Rich Pope, Extension director in Harrison County, for putting together a great field identification and management field day on Palmer Amaranth--the 'King Kong of Pigweeds'-- as coined by Western Iowa Co-op's Randy McDunn. "We had a great crowd of growers, seed dealers, ag retailers and chemical manufacturer representatives -- I'd guess the crowd represented half a million acres or so."