Farmers across Nebraska are are on guard for an invasive weed that can hinder the harvest. The first confirmed case of Palmer amaranth was recently confirmed just across the Missouri River in Harrison County, Iowa.
The weed has had a big impact on crop production for farmers in the southeastern U.S.
Harrison County extension program coordinator Rich Pope says it was just a matter of time before Palmer amaranth showed up.
“It’s been found in several places in Missouri and Kansas, and a couple of counties in Nebraska as well,” Pope says. “It’s not a surprise that it’s here, it’s just something that we need to be aware of and try to manage because it can pose some potential problems because of the ability it has to escape some of our management techniques if we don’t pay attention.”
Although it’s visibly different, Pope says Palmer amaranth can easily be mistaken for a similar weed – waterhemp. Pope says, while controlling the weed can be a challenge, it is not insurmountable. But he says it takes a good weed management plan.
“One of the biggest management things is to clean equipment between fields, especially if you’re in an area that’s confirmed to have Palmer amaranth,” Pope says. “The transport of a little seed from field to field…if we can stop that, that will help a lot with stopping the spread.”