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Waterhemp is Moving North in the Red River Valley (07/23/15)

I stated in winter meetings the ‘waterhemp line’ or fields where waterhemp could be scouted for and found in corn, sugarbeet, soybean or small grains fields was somewhere between Wahpeton and Fargo in 2014.

Waterhemp is Moving North in the Red River Valley

I stated in winter meetings the ‘waterhemp line’ or fields where waterhemp could be scouted for and found in corn, sugarbeet, soybean or small grains fields was somewhere between Wahpeton and Fargo in 2014. Last week, at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (Crookston. MN) Crop and Soils Day, I stated that I believed the waterhemp line had moved north or perhaps between Fargo and Hillsboro, ND in 2015.

I got feedback that waterhemp has been found in fields further north, perhaps as far north as US highway 2. This week I found waterhemp in fields near Ada and Hendrum, MN and received pictures that appear to be waterhemp in a field near Euclid, MN (north of US 2, north of Crookston).

How is it moving so far so fast? Scientists know waterhemp seed moves readily in water. Scientists also believe that geese and ducks feed on waterhemp and perhaps distribute seed as excrement along flyways. Finally, humans (us) unintentionally move seed, especially with our harvest equipment.

Farmers must continue to scout fields and properly identify weeds in fields. Set the expectation for zero tolerance for weed escapes and make maps of areas in fields where weed escapes occur. And finally, prepare to adapt your weeds management strategy for waterhemp. Waterhemp is easy to manage in fields planted to corn, soybean, small grains and sugarbeet when it is part of a weeds management strategy. However, it is much more difficult to manage when escapes are found in fields, especially following the first or second herbicide application. Manage weeds on the edges of fields.

Tom Peters

 Extension Sugarbeet Agronomist

NDSU & U of MN

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