NDSU Extension - Morton County


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September 7, 2020 Producers Need to Watch for Anthrax & Palmer Amaranth

Renae Gress, Extension Agent/Agriculture and Natural Resources


Dates to Remember:

  • September 15: 4-H Council Meeting, Courthouse
  • September 16: Fall Clean-up, Morton Mandan Public Library
  • September 22: 1-2-3 Magic Crash Course taught by Dr. Tom Phelan, Online
  • September 29: 1-2-3 Magic Live Q&A taught by Dr. Tom Phelan, Online
    • October 5: Powerful Tools for Caregivers Series, Online


Producers Need to Watch for Anthrax and Palmer Amaranth

Anthrax continues to be a concern for livestock producers in Morton County as there was a confirmed case just last week. Anthrax is a disease that is caused by a bacteria that produces spores. These spores appear during times of high rainfall or dry conditions. Herbivores, such as cattle and sheep are susceptible to anthrax. Initial signs of an infection are typically finding dead livestock with blood oozing from body openings. Acute symptoms can include the animal staggering, having difficulty breathing, collapse, edema or swelling over the body, particularly at the brisket.

If anthrax is suspected, call your veterinarian to identify and confirm the case. Once confirmed, a vaccination needs to occur as soon as possible. A 1cc dose of a live attenuated spore vaccine needs to be administered subcutaneously in the neck region. Other cattle in the pasture should also be administered the vaccine and withheld from antibiotics.


Palmer amaranth is the number one weed problem in the United States and it was found in Morton County last year. Reports are coming in from other counties across the state of North Dakota, so now is the time for producers to keep an eye on their fields.

Palmer amaranth is an aggressive, hard to control pigweed that can poses a serious threat to North Dakota crops. This weed can grow 2-3 inches per day in optimum conditions and reach a height of 6-8 feet. Heavy infestations have reduced yield up to 78% in soybeans and 91% in corn in other states. Palmer amaranth looks very similar to the other pigweeds and it may be difficult to identify. One way to distinguish it, is to look at its leaf stem or petiole. If the petiole is as long or longer than the leaf blade, there is a good chance it may be Palmer. Also, the leaves will be diamond or oval-shaped with no hair on the stem or leaves. If you suspect a plant is Palmer amaranth, call your local county weed board officer or your local NDSU Extension agent.

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