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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension

Amaranth, oh my!

Posted by Russel Higgins - Weeds

This morning I had the opportunity to attend the Region II Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts meeting. I enjoyed visiting with regional representative Joe Bybee and many of the county representatives in attendance. One of the topics we discussed in relationship to cover crops was the looming weed issues in production agriculture in Illinois. For those who have attended meetings or followed the agriculture press; the drum has been beating on resistance issues in Illinois weeds. 2012 turned out to be a very challenging year for some and weeds are easily visible above the soybean canopy in a number of fields. While Giant ragweed is the primary weed at the NIARC, one does not have to travel far to find issues with members of the Amaranth family. Presently in northern counties the predominant amaranth weed species is Waterhemp. Importance of controlling this weed was clarified by a recent article authored by Aaron Hager. In the article it was shared that under warm conditions (86 degrees) Waterhemp seed becomes viable (will germinate) a mere 7 - 9 days after pollination. If you see a mature Waterhemp in your field that is not dead and is a female plant, it is likely that it has viable seed! The entire article including images can be accessed here

Before leaving our discussion on members in the Amaranth family, a quick descriptor for today's image. My co-worker Robert Bellm shared a photo of a Palmer amaranth infested field near Collinsville along with the caption "NIARC in the future". His humorous comment is somewhat tempered by the fact that a Palmer amaranth was submitted and positively identified from Kankakee County. Still several miles away, but a lot closer than southern Illinois! Let's hope this image is not representative of northern Illinois until the distant future.

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