Identify Palmer Amaranth
By Sonja BegemannFarm Journal Seeds and Crop Production Editor
The excitement of spring can come to a halt when Palmer amaranth finds its way into seed lots. Two new tests created by university of lllinois could help slow the spread of the prolific weed through early identification and management.
“We have a test that can detect one Palmer seed out of 100 seeds and we can ID leaf tissue, too,” says Suzanne Bissonette, assistant dean at the University of lllinois (U of l) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and plant clinic director.
This past year, farmers in more than 40 Midwestern counties learned no good deed goes unpunished when Palmer amaranth seed snuck into their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or pollinator plot seed mixes. This problem could potentially have been avoided with this test, which can be ordered by pollinator or CRP seed companies or farmers.
The test also shows if the weed is resistant to glyphosate or PPO inhibitors, which means farmers can cater their weed management strategy to actually kill the weed.
If Palmer is present in the fields, the U of l tissue test can help identify the species (Palmer can look similar to its less aggressive cousin tall waterhemp) and determine the best herbicide.