Noxious weed found in Preble County


PREBLE COUNTY — Palmer amaranth has been recently discovered in Preble County. This weed has been an enormous problem in southern and western states, and has recently been making its way to the midwest. The weed seed is believed to have come to Preble County in a load of hay from Kansas.

A recent community meeting was held in the area of the outbreak, between Eaton and Lewisburg, to educate neighbors on how to identify and eliminate the weed before it can spread further. Ohio State University weed scientist, Dr. Mark Loux, was present to inform farmers about the weed and advise them on the best way to eliminate it from their fields. At one point, he mentioned that weed scientists are, “Scared to death,” of this noxious weed.

Palmer amaranth is a member of the pigweed family. It has become rampant in certain areas due to fast growth of up to 3” per day, emergence spring through fall, resistance to multiple herbicides, and the production of hundreds of thousands up to a million seeds per single plant. Palmer has the potential to double herbicide application costs for farmers, and the weed likely still wouldn’t be controlled. It can even lead to reduced property values.

Livestock producers need to be very careful about bringing in feed from the south or west. Palmer seed is especially a problem in cotton seed feed products, and other feeds coming from Kansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Crop producers need to be cautious about purchasing equipment with a history in these same states, as seed may still be present in the machines. When purchasing feed or equipment, find out where it is from and its potential for contamination with palmer seed.

Farmers with palmer currently growing in their fields need to be scouting fields carefully and pulling plants immediately before they begin to drop viable seeds. If these plants can be removed before dropping seeds this year, the chances of eliminating the weed from Preble County will be greatly increased. If any plants are missed, farmers need to be cautious about spreading seed between fields this fall. These fields should be harvested last and equipment cleaned thoroughly afterwards. Crop consultants should be contacted regarding recommendations for future crops and a weed control strategy.

Palmer amaranth resources are available at the Preble Soil and Water Conservation District office at 1651 N. Barron St., Eaton, and on their website at www.prebleswcd.org. Anyone concerned that they may have a palmer infestation is encouraged to contact the SWCD office, an agronomist, or Mark Loux at OSU immediately.

By Anna Smith

Preble SWCD Outreach Coordinator