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Cultivator for Weeds Near ExtinctionCultivator for Weeds Near Extinction

Poor management of Palmer amaranth could change that someday.

Tom Bechman 1

June 14, 2013

2 Min Read

One of our columnists for Friday Field Walk, Bill Pickart, Bringhurst, made an astute observation the other day. After driving around over the past couple weeks to get a feel for what the crop is like, it dawned on him that he had not seed a row cultivator for weeds.

"Maybe they're going the way of the plow," he said. "I can't remember when I saw the last one working in a field."

Even with the shift to residual herbicides, most people are in drilled or 15-inch rows, and will likely still not cultivate. A few people are in 30-inch rows, and would have the option to cultivate.


Weed control specialists caution that it might not be time to put the cultivator on the junk pile or sell it or scrap just yet. If Palmer amaranth gets a foothold as it has in the South, there may still be need for mechanical cultivation.

Actually, in the South people have gone to pulling it out by the roots, loading it on wagons, hauling it out of the field and burning the plants once they dry out. The plant is so prolific on weed seed that you can't allow even a small amount to go to seed if you can help it.

Several weed scientists said going into the season that you ought to plan your herbicide program as if Palmer amaranth was in your fields, whether it is or not. Last year the weed was identified in six northern and northwestern counties, plus two counties in the very southwestern tip of Indiana. The weeds from southwestern Indiana have already been confirmed as glyphosate-resistant.

Learn to recognize what the weed looks like. Get it before it produces a seed head, which alone can be 20 inches long, specialists say.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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