SIDNEY, Mont - What’s scarier than all the ghosts and goblins roaming the countryside on Halloween? Palmer amaranth lurking in your fields!

Palmer amaranth, a pigweed relative, is one of the most serious weeds facing American agriculture today and it’s coming this way! After traveling across the southern U.S. and moving northward through the Midwestern states into North Dakota, it now sits on our doorstep ready to pounce.

Be prepared. Join us for a free half-day workshop, “Palmer amaranth: It’s Coming! What You Need to Know” on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Richland County Extension Office conference room in Sidney. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon MT and is being sponsored by the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee and Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Palmer amaranth is one of the most adaptable and dangerously resistant weeds in the country. It can grow 2 to 3 inches a day (to a height of 6 or more feet), produce up to a half million seeds per plant and has demonstrated population resistance to nearly all herbicides commonly available to producers for weed management. It competes aggressively in crops, emerging throughout the growing season, and its small seeds can be easily transported in equipment or through grain, seed or feed contamination. Farmers and ranchers across Montana need to take immediate action to identify and prevent establishment here, weed scientists warn. This workshop is designed to provide participants the necessary tools to do that.

The featured speaker is Dr. Jason Bond, the weed control in agronomics crop specialist from Mississippi State University Extension and a veteran in battling Palmer amaranth. His talk is entitled: Palmer Amaranth: Evolution of a Driver Weed.” As part of his presentation, he will discuss some common mistakes made with Palmer Amaranth and how to avoid repeating them. Dr. Bond works out of the Delta Research and Extension Center and will discuss the problems that Mississippi producers have faced in trying to prevent and control Palmer Amaranth and what they’ve learned in the process.

Dr. Bond will be joined by other weed experts including Dr. Brian Jenks, weed scientist at the North Central Research Extension Center in Minot, N.D. Dr. Jenks will discuss North Dakota’s efforts to prevent the spread of Palmer amaranth since it was first identified there two years ago.

Also on tap is Dr. Tim Seipel, Montana State University Extension Cropland Specialist, who will discuss steps MonDak producers can take to avoid infestations and more specifically what they can do to combat herbicide resistance. Dr. John Gaskin, Molecular Botanist with the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory will discuss identification tips and possible biocontrols, while Plant Ecologist Dr. Natalie West, also with the Sidney ARS lab, will discuss the potential for drones in scouting for the weed.

In addition to their various presentations, the program’s weed experts will also participate in a panel question and answer session with attendees.  

And finally, Richland County Extension Agent Tim Fine will join Dr. Gaskin to discuss other emerging crop and rangeland weeds MonDak producers need to be on the lookout for.

Pesticide points are pending for this workshop. The workshop will also be broadcast as a live webinar at participating County Extension Offices and MSU Research Centers across the state of Montana, where attendees there will also be eligible for pesticide points. Please contact the Richland County Extension Office for questions: Phone: 406-433-1206; E-mail: richland@montana.edu.

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