Ward County Weed Management Plan
Ward County consists of 57 townships with 1,313,280 acres of land. Of this approximately 80% (1,052,224 acres) is cropland, 15% (197,292 acres) is hayland and pasture and the balance is in other land uses such as rights-of-way, farmsteads, cities and towns. Ward County borders McLean, Mountrail, Burke, Renville and McHenry counties. The Souris and DesLacs rivers are our principle drainage.
US 83 is our north/south highways and US 2 & 52 are our east/west highways. Also state highways 5, 23, 28 and 50 pass through the county. The state highways consist of 160 miles of 2 lane, 114 miles of four lane. There are 1500 miles of townships roads and 710 miles of county roads, for a total of 2,484 road miles. Ward County is responsible for all of the rights-of-way and control all noxious weeds with the exception of Field Bind Weed, which is not as prolific or a threat to our economy. Using a two quart rate of Tordon per acre on rights-of-way versus lesser amounts have reduced labor and herbicide cost approximately $50,000 per year, thus enabling more funds to be used for our cost share program, thereby increasing pasture productivity. Ward County has been able to honor all requests for our cost share program with no limit of Tordon purchases for private application or acres sprayed with helicopters.
Ward County started a Landowner Assistance Program (LAP) in 1982 for the control of Leafy Spurge. This consisted of two programs. One program is for accessible acres, or pasture land that landowners are able to spray themselves with ground equipment. The cost share for this program is 70% county and 30% cooperator for Tordon only with no limit on amount of purchase and a recommendation of two quarts per acre. This part of our LAP program has grown from 26 cooperators spraying 672 acres in 1982 to a high of 165 cooperators spraying 3564 acres in 1989. Thee Weed Board recommended, where economically feasible, to apply two quarts of Tordon per acre. Cooperators are now spraying approximately 1500 acres per year using the two quart rate of Tordon per acre.
Ward County’s second LAP is for inaccessible Leafy Spurge acres or acres that cannot be readily sprayed with ground equipment. In 1982 helicopter were used for the first time to spray these inaccessible acres. This spraying program grew from 1500 acres in 1982 to 7260 in 1992. Sprayed acres consistently remained the same since 1992, no acre reduction, only less stand density. Application rate of herbicide was one pint of Tordon and one quart of 2,4-D per acre. In 1995, the Weed Board decided to spray every other year and apply two quarts of Tordon per acre. Helicopters would than be spraying half as much per year, so spraying would be done at a more optimum time and application costs would be reduced 50%. The Weed Board then reduced the cost share of landowners from 30% of application and herbicide to 25%. By reducing this 5% and spraying every other year, the cost for landowners remained about the same even with the increase from one pint to two quarts of Tordon per acre.
The Weed Board estimates Ward County to be infested with about 12,000 acres of Leafy Spurge and 20 acres of Spotted Knapweed. Using LAP, cooperators are presently spraying approximately 8500 acres of Leafy Spurge utilizing ground and aerial application, which mean no Leafy Spurge control is being practiced on 3500 acres of pasture land, which if completely nonproductive. The county has in the past and will continue to spray borders of solid infestations next to land where Leafy Spurge is under control.
A questionnaire was sent to all cooperators with the following results: 903 additional calves are being raised since the cost share program was enacted; at $500.00 per calf this equals $451,500.00 using the economic axiom that for every dollar agriculture produces, an additional $4.50 is added into the economy. This results in an increase of $2,301,750 into our local economy.
Leafy Spurge and Spotted Knapweed:
Landowner Assistance Program (LAP) participants are required to submit ASCS maps identifying infestations before they can qualify for the cost share purchasing program. The in-accessible acres are recorded when sprayed with the helicopter. All of the Leafy Spurge acres are recorded by section on a large county map, which also has the ground water sensitive areas colored in. Leafy Spurge acres recorded by ¼ season on ASCS maps and acres sprayed with helicopter also recorded by ¼ section will be on file by September of 1996 (Exhibit A)
Ward County does not have plants considered endangered species. The Ward County Weed Board will monitor its endangered species program through the Extension Endangered Program publication.
Desirable Woody Habitat:
Cost share participants who apply their own herbicides are informed where certain herbicides may or may not be used. Where helicopters are used, the micro-foil spray system eliminates spray drift.
All cities and towns in Ward County are included in the County Weed Control authority. Noxious weeds are controlled by herbicides that are labeled for each specific area. Included is all public property consisting of the river rip-rap, lagoon system and recreation complex.
Water Contamination Concern:
The ground-water map, Exhibit B, identifies the areas of the county with a potential for herbicides to contaminate shallow aquifers. These areas in Ward County are minimal and very little if any Leafy Spurge present. This area is not sprayed with a helicopter so land owners in this sensitive area are informed of what herbicides can or cannot be used. All cooperators are furnished with a county map showing these sensitive areas.
Herbicide Sensitive Crops:
By watching wind direction, temperature and using hand guns with low pressure, keeping good records and using selective herbicides, these areas of sensitive and organic crops have not been a problem.
I. Early Detection and Prevention Strategies: Landowners are encouraged to treat new infestations, especially Leafy Spurge and Spotted Knapweed as soon as they are identified to insure eradication and prevent spreading and seed production. The Weed Board’s policy is to eradicate all Spotted Knapweed infestations and monitor each location annually. The Weed Board has added Dalmation Toadflax to the county noxious weed list and will continue to review whether other weeds should be considered.
II. Education and Awareness: Each LAP participant will receive a copy of an appropriate NDSU Extension Service control pamphlet for the weed being treated. Periodically post cards are sent out to all rural postal patrons (Exhibit C) offering information on control measures or help with spraying. Through numerous TV, radio, newspapers, public meetings and tours by the Extension Service and Weed Control, the public is made aware of weed control methods including herbicides, grazing and biological control. The Weed Board cooperates with the Ward County
Extension Agent in the disbursement of information on noxious weed control. The Extension Service provides information on timing of insect releases, and current recommendations for chemical control.
III. Control Methods: LAP cost share assistance is available for Leafy Spurge control on privately and State owned pasture and rangeland. Spotted Knapweed will be cost shared on all land uses; including publicly owned properties.
Alternative Control Measures:
The County Weed Board has a cost share program to help defray costs of fencing for goats and sheep, providing a total of $4,000 per year and a maximum of $500 per individual per year.
Biological Control Program:
Ward County has field insectaries of five Leafy Spurge flea beetles. Two types of flea beetles are plentiful enough on several of the sites so that we have been able to distribute directly to the farmers in 1994 and 1995. We have been able to accommodate all the individual farmers who have requested insects. In 1994, we distributed release insects to 65 different landowners. In 1995, there were releases at 100 sites on private land by the private cooperators. Those individuals are monitoring their own sites and will distribute insects within their own boundaries and to neighbors.
The county has release on 45 different sites. These are monitored on an annual or semi-annual basis depending on location and the insect. As the sites become productive, they will be open for collecting to local landowners and to the county for distribution. Evaluation of the insect Biological Control Program will be monitored over the next five to ten years depending on its success and expanded program will take place as insects are available.
County Right-of-Way Program:
Ward County sprays all noxious weeds on county and township rights-of-way with the exception of Field Bindweed. State and Federal highway rights-of-way are controlled according to a contract between the County Weed Board and the ND Department of Transportation.
Evaluation and Monitoring:
The long term goal of the Ward County Weed Board is to manage, contain and/or eradicate all noxious weed infestation using integrated weed management techniques.
The short term goal of the Ward County Weed Board is to eradicate Spotted Knapweed, contain and control the spread of Leafy Spurge and continue to increase the production of our pasture land.
Budget: Refer to the attached annual budget. (Exhibit D).
Ward County Weed Control Board
For additional information about this page contact course author Dan Folske, NDSU Extension Service/Burke County