Goehring advises public to look for Palmer amaranth

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) is advising the public to be aware of and learn to identify Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), a pigweed species that has the potential to be devastating to North Dakota agriculture.

“Palmer amaranth has not yet been identified in North Dakota, but has been identified in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota in recent years,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “In Minnesota, it was likely introduced through tainted seed mix on land in the federal Conservation Reserve Program.”

Palmer amaranth is native to the southwestern U.S. but was accidentally introduced to other areas and has devastated crops in the South and Midwest. It is a prolific seed producer that can emerge throughout the growing season. It grows rapidly at 2-3 inches per day in optimum conditions and is prone to herbicide resistance. It is a highly invasive weed that can dramatically cut crop yields.

The public is urged to work with local weed officers, extension agents and other experts to identify and report suspect plants. Palmer amaranth may spread through multiple channels, including: contaminated seed mixes; equipment and machinery movement; animal agriculture feed and bedding; and wild birds.

NDDA recommends that anyone planting a seed mix on any scale, especially those targeting pollinator or wildlife conservation, ensure they are using reputable sources for seed, are aware of where the seed was originally sourced from and know what seeds are in the mix.

More information on Palmer amaranth and other noxious and invasive weeds is available at www.nd.gov/ndda/program/noxious-weeds

To report a suspect plant, contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-226-4321 or North Dakota State University Extension at 701-231-8157 or 701-857-7677.