Pat Shingleton: "Hog Wild on Pig Weed"
Our "Sunday Ride" last weekend sent us to New Roads via the new bridge connecting St. Francisville. The New Roads Harvest Festival is this weekend and the sugar cane harvest has begun. Harvesting soy beans is also not far away. For many years, farmers have struggled in eradicating and controlling a pesky plant called "Pig Weed." Farmers in Arkansas seem to receive the worst damage from this plant as it compromises the cotton crop and in many instances will completely dominate a field. Pesticides that originally controlled the weed haven't been effective in applications over the past five years. Experts have declared it uncontrollable in may locations as it chokes more than a million acres of cotton and soybeans. Some farmers have spent more than $500,000 fighting a plant that won’t die. Pig weed grows three inches a day and is as big as a baseball bat at its base. It not only kills crops but destroys the blades on combines and cotton pickers. Since 2010, researchers have been developing a herbicide that could be available next year.