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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Palmer Amaranth

Aaron Hager, weed scientist, is spending a lot of time at his winter presentations discussing Palmer Amaranth.  Palmer Amaranth is the Osama Bin Laden of weeds.  It seems to embody adaptability and aggressiveness in its growth patterns.  This article is a good one to distinguish among Amaranth Species.  Alan York, a South Carolina weed scientist says that if you were trying to design the perfect weed Palmer Amaranth would be what you would come up with.  Of course with so many acres of crops relying only on glyphosate for weed control, the issue is glyphosate resistance.  It should come as no surprise that a weed as closely related as it is to Water Hemp could develop glyphosate resistance.  Monsanto's recommendations call for early control.  Hager agrees saying that you might get a kill at three inches tall but not at six inches tall.  The problem is that the weed can go from 3 to six inches in one day.  He says a better plan is to use a soil applied residual herbicide early and follow-up with post emergents to clean up escapes.  University of Arkansas is saying that we should have a Zero Tolerance Policy for Palmer Amaranth. 

  As with other resistant pests, rotating chemical families and modes of action should be helpful.  It could certainly end up with resistance as well, but Bayer's Glufosinate-ammonium* previously sold as Ignite could be helpful.  Remember that you need to have the genetics in your crop to use this product.  I understand that this year  Glufosinate-ammonium* may be sold as Liberty in the United States.  It is still listed as Ignite on their web site. Ignite/Liberty is rated a 6 out of 10 on Palmer Amaranth.  The good news is that Google will take you to lots of information on Palmer Amaranth. 

It is interesting that Native Americans ate Amaranth as a one of their major food products.    It is a high protein palatable product.  If we were to decide to go this route, what kind of yields could we expect?  How would we control it when we wanted to rotate to other crops?  How would we handle this very tiny seed with our grain handling systems?  It looks like we are a long way from eating this stuff in the near future.

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