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Updated: August 8, 2017
In previous Field Crop News articles, we have discussed the emergence of Palmer Amaranth and waterhemp as herbicide-resistant weeds gaining ground in Pennsylvania. In last week's edition, Bill Curran mentioned fields in Southeastern PA in which a heavy infestation of herbicide-resistant waterhemp could be seen growing in clear rows throughout the field. How could such a weed growth pattern happen? In this case, a combine harvest in another field last season helped introduce and distribute the seeds. If the weeds are growing in defined tracks, such as in the photo below, that could indicate that the seeds have landed there from a combine that had the weed seeds riding on it from a previous harvest in an infested field.
Pigweed seeds are very small and can hide in tight areas of the combine. Since a single plant can contain upwards of 500,000 seeds, the introduction of even a few seeds can spark a serious and costly infestation.
Steps can be taken to help ensure that herbicide-resistant weed seeds, such as Palmer Amaranth and waterhemp, are not spread to new fields via combine.
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