Pat Shingleton: "Harvest Time and Pig Weed Time..."
It's harvest time in South Louisiana for sugar cane and soy beans. Over the years, many farmers have struggled with a menacing weed that has compromised the cotton crop. "Pig Weed" crops-up and spreads rapidly to dominate many fields. Years ago, pesticide applications that originally controlled the weed were ineffective as experts officially declared it uncontrollable as it choked a million acres of cotton and soybeans. Some farmers spent more than $500,000 fighting a plant that wouldn't die. Palmer pigweed has developed chemical resistance. Previously a common pigweed, it became a fast-growing threat. Pigweeds cross-pollinate readily, and Palmer passes on chemical resistance in its pollen. Herbicide use may contribute to further chemical resistance in pigweeds and sprays will be most effective on plants less than 4 inches tall. A ready-to-use, glyphosate-based herbicide kills most pigweed plants. Pig weed grows three inches per day and has a root structure the size of a baseball bat at its base. It not only kills crops but destroys the blades on combines and cotton pickers. The plant continues to go "hog-wild" in many locations.
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