Giant Ragweed Re-emerges

By: Cara Restelli
By: Cara Restelli

First they had to deal with a wet spring, then an incredibly dry summer.

Now area farmers are tackling another problem, weeds.

Giant ragweed is nothing new in the stateline, area farmers have seen the species for decades.

But it’s an old weed that's causing new problems.

John Wakely's crops have a competitor, giant ragweed has moved into his farmland. “Its covering 25-percent of my farmland,” says Wakely.

The weed, which takes light, water and nutrients from crops, is making resurgence in the area. This is partly because farmers these days plant earlier and put their herbicides away. But the giant ragweed is able to germinate as late as June. And ragweed can wreak havoc on farms. In fact, just two ragweed plants per square mile can reduce corn yield 37 percent and soybean yield 52 percent.

The problem will most likely only get worse before better, that's because one small ragweed has thousands of seeds that can easily pollinate, destroying hundreds of acres of farmland.

“I already lost 22 percent of my yield. It's just really hard to control,” says Dale Baird.

Farmers can help the problem by using herbicide twice a year, once before the crop emerges and again after.

But ragweed is stubborn plant; so even two treatments will likely only cut down on the problem, not eliminate it.


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