Weed Threatens Iowa Soybeans - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Weed Threatens Iowa Soybeans

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Farmers taking advantage of this weekend's nice weather will be heading into their fields to continue planting efforts. But, the Iowa Soybean Association is urging them to look out for a yield-robbing weed.

It's called Palmer Amaranth. It's native to the southwestern United States, but it was first found in Iowa in the last year.

The herbicide-resistant plant has now been found in five counties in the state, including Muscatine County.

Experts say a mild to moderate infestation can result in soybean yield losses of up to 30 percent. That's a potential revenue hit of more than 200 dollars per acre.

In the south, Palmer outbreaks have caused complete crop failures.

That has farmers in our area paying attention.

"They have to be concerned, because it's around," said Davenport farmer David Overbroeckling.

The soybeans are just now showing up in Overbroeckling's fields, but he's looking for any sign of Palmer Amaranth.

He says the question is not whether the weed will show up in this area, it's when.

"We don't never want to see it around here, but it's coming," Overbroeckling said, "We've got to do as much as we can to protect from getting it on our farms."

That's why the Iowa Soybean Association is teaming up with Iowa State University to reach out to farmers, urging them to take steps now to help stop the spread.

They're asked to scout their fields for any signs of the weeds and consider things like planting cover crops to help prevent weed growth.

"If we don't really take the time and get serious about weed management and change the way that we're doing things...certainly some scenarios would give us all pause," said Aaron Putze, Director of Communications for the Iowa Soybean Association.

Putze says it's hard to say what yield loss would do to food prices. But, one thing is clear:

"Nobody benefits if there is yield loss," he said.

So, Putze says, stopping the spread of the herbicide-resistant Palmer Amaranth should be a top concern.

And early detection and intervention is key.

"Because once the weeds get big then the chemicals are worthless just about," Overbroeckling said.

Overbroeckling says it's always important for farmers to follow herbicide instructions carefully. Just like not finishing a full course of antibiotics can help create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, not using the right dose of herbicide can contribute to herbicide-resistance in weeds, like Palmer Amaranth.

"That makes it a real serious problem," Overbroeckling said.

"We're going to continue to work with farmers to ensure that they continue to make strides on this very important issue," Putze said.

Recommended control strategies for Palmer include soil-applied, residual herbicides and multiple effective modes of action. Group 3, 15 and some group 14 products work well. Post-emergent products are limited due to herbicide resistance, and should be used sparingly. Cover crops and spot cultivation are also effective measures.

Farmers can contact Owen at (515) 294-5936 or mdowen@iastate.edu for management help.

For more take-action tips to manage Palmer Amaranth, go to www.takeactiononweeds.com.

To learn more about ISA, go to www.iasoybeans.com

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