The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of Palmer amaranth in Ward County.
A producer noticed some suspect plants in a field while combining and samples were submitted for DNA analysis to the National Agricultural Genotyping Center, where it was identified as the specific weed.
Palmer amaranth is an invasive, noxious weed that poses a threat to North Dakota crop production. It can grow two to three inches a day, reaching heights of six to eight feet.
It is resistant to many herbicides and competes for space and nutrients with planted crops. According to the NDSU Extension Service, Palmer amaranth has been known to reduce yields up to 91 percent in corn and 79 percent in soybeans.
And it is prolific at reproducing and spreading: There can be as many as one million seeds waiting to spread in each plant.
“Due to the drought, many producers have purchased hay or used screenings to feed livestock,” said Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring. “I strongly encourage those who are moving feedstuffs or have purchased feed to monitor for noxious weeds in all areas where storage, feeding, foraging and manure spreading occurred.”
With harvest season wrapping up, Goehring says farmers are also encouraged to scout fields and clean excess dirt and plant debris off equipment between fields to prevent unintentional spread.
Palmer amaranth has now been found in 14 North Dakota counties. More information on noxious and invasive weeds is available at https://www.nd.gov/ndda/plant-industries/noxious-weeds.
To report a suspect plant, go to https://www.nd.gov/ndda/pa or contact your local county weed officer.