Whether it is the saltcedar and Chinese Tallow tree in Texas or the trail of leafy spurge that runs from Texas to Montana, invasive weeds are a problem for farmers, ranchers and environmentalists alike. Developing a strategy to control them is good business and good stewardship of natural resources.



Neil Fanta, weed officer, Kidder County, N.D., oversees control of noxious and invasive weeds on more than 850 miles of roadway. Along with his dad, he also oversees weed control on 2,800 acres of mixed crops and pasture land. The two duties complement each other well as he battles absinth wormwood, Canada thistle and others in both jobs. Learning how to control the weeds in one situation helps determine a strategy for controlling them in the other.



Absinth wormwood is on the march and has earned a reputation as both noxious and hard to control. The broadleaf is thought to have first expanded its niche in Conservation Reserve Program acres and on abandoned farmsteads. Now it is moving into crop land, grazing land and hay ground. Once established in pastures and rangeland, it quickly out competes other grasses as cattle reject it, which leaves it to spread.



It is bad news for hay producers, too, decreasing the value of hay. Milk has reportedly been rejected for an off flavor as a result of dairy cattle eating the weed in hay.



Like so many weeds, timing is everything when it comes to control. "At the right time of the season, you can kill worm-wood with a light dose of herbicide, but if it gets past that stage, it takes a pretty good shot to control," said Fanta.



He reports his best control with Milestone from Dow Agro-Sciences on rangeland, while glyphosate used on Roundup Ready crops gives the best control in fields. "Previously we used 2,4-D, but we didn't get control. Now if we treat with Milestone two consecutive years, we are able to take it out completely," he explained. "With a two quart per acre rate of glyphosate, we are able to take it out of cropland."



Fanta has turned to Plateau and Overdrive from BASF to battle leafy spurge and other broadleaf weeds on both roadsides and pasture. "We heard about North Dakota State University doing some trials with them and thought the low-use rate would fit with our program year round," he said.



More than 800 miles to the south is another example of how different invasive weeds are problems throughout the country. Ryan McDowell is battling invasive weed problems as the manager of the MFA in Fayette, Mo. He needed his own strategy to balance crop and pasture weed control. The rough nature of the pasture ground in his area complicated things.



"A lot of our spray rig operators don't want to get out in the brushy pasture," McDowell said. "It tears up equipment and consists of a lot of small chunks of land here and there. You have creeks to cross and cedar trees to get around. It's a real pain with big booms. When there are crops to do, that's all the applicator wants to do, and that aggravates our beef producers."



There is increasing reason for the cattleman to be frustrated. Thistle, both musk and Canada, as well as an invasion of teasel are taking over pastures. Sericea lespedeza (Chinese bush clover) is another big problem that has the attention of area conservation agencies as well as farmers. Because of McDowell's work controlling invasive weeds, the agencies are recommending landowners contact him about the lespedesza variety.



"It's a legume, but grows tall and stemmy. It will invade crop and pasture and out compete fescue," explained McDowell. "The conservation agency officials tell people I'm the guy with the equipment, the chemicals and the knowledge they need. It's not a big percentage of our business, but it helps."



Like many invasives, Sericea lespedeza was introduced for soil improvement, wildlife forage and cover. The semi-woody plant establishes a substantial seed bank in the soil. Unchecked, small patches spread, becoming more and more difficult to control, with burning actually enhancing its spread and domination of other vegetation. While cattle will graze it early, the high tannins and woody stem make it unpalatable.



"Dow AgroSciences PastureGard is specifically recom-mended for lespedeza," said McDowell. "On really poor pastures we used Grazon P+D and sometimes ForeFront R&P, as well as Milestone when we have more thistle."



A new tool in McDowell's kit is the equipment he and his customers have needed. With the help of Dow AgroSciences, the cooperative purchased a 300-gallon skid-mounted sprayer with two 18-foot boomless nozzles. In a matter of minutes, the sprayer can be loaded in a farmer's pickup and rented out for application work.



In 2008, the program got off to a good start with limited advertising. With the aid of word of mouth, things look even better for the coming year. "We were getting calls early," said McDowell. "Last year we sold considerably more herbicide, but the big thing was we solidified relationships with existing customers who previously had been aggravated when we said we couldn't spray their ground."



MFA is building business with a new segment of rural landowners, thanks in part to the new spray rig.



Controlling invasive weeds is impacting the MFA location's business as well has allowing improved pasture and improved leased hunting-rights ground. Weekend farmers and hunting landowners come to the co-op for weed control, but increasingly leave with more. "They want to rent the sprayer for a burndown and then plant a food plot for deer and wildlife," said McDowell.



Whether it is the saltcedar and Chinese Tallow tree in Texas or the trail of leafy spurge that runs from Texas to Montana, invasive weeds are a problem for farmers, ranchers and environmentalists alike. Developing a strategy to control them is good business and good stewardship of natural resources.



Neil Fanta, weed officer, Kidder County, N.D., oversees control of noxious and invasive weeds on more than 850 miles of roadway. Along with his dad, he also oversees weed control on 2,800 acres of mixed crops and pasture land. The two duties complement each other well as he battles absinth wormwood, Canada thistle and others in both jobs. Learning how to control the weeds in one situation helps determine a strategy for controlling them in the other.



Absinth wormwood is on the march and has earned a reputation as both noxious and hard to control. The broadleaf is thought to have first expanded its niche in Conservation Reserve Program acres and on abandoned farmsteads. Now it is moving into crop land, grazing land and hay ground. Once established in pastures and rangeland, it quickly out competes other grasses as cattle reject it, which leaves it to spread.



It is bad news for hay producers, too, decreasing the value of hay. Milk has reportedly been rejected for an off flavor as a result of dairy cattle eating the weed in hay.
Like so many weeds, timing is everything when it comes to control. "At the right time of the season, you can kill worm-wood with a light dose of herbicide, but if it gets past that stage, it takes a pretty good shot to control," said Fanta.



He reports his best control with Milestone from Dow Agro-Sciences on rangeland, while glyphosate used on Roundup Ready crops gives the best control in fields. "Previously we used 2,4-D, but we didn't get control. Now if we treat with Milestone two consecutive years, we are able to take it out completely," he explained. "With a two quart per acre rate of glyphosate, we are able to take it out of cropland."



Fanta has turned to Plateau and Overdrive from BASF to battle leafy spurge and other broadleaf weeds on both roadsides and pasture. "We heard about North Dakota State University doing some trials with them and thought the low-use rate would fit with our program year round," he said.
More than 800 miles to the south is another example of how different invasive weeds are problems throughout the country. Ryan McDowell is battling invasive weed problems as the manager of the MFA in Fayette, Mo. He needed his own strategy to balance crop and pasture weed control. The rough nature of the pasture ground in his area complicated things.



"A lot of our spray rig operators don't want to get out in the brushy pasture," McDowell said. "It tears up equipment and consists of a lot of small chunks of land here and there. You have creeks to cross and cedar trees to get around. It's a real pain with big booms. When there are crops to do, that's all the applicator wants to do, and that aggravates our beef producers."



There is increasing reason for the cattleman to be frustrated. Thistle, both musk and Canada, as well as an invasion of teasel are taking over pastures. Sericea lespedeza (Chinese bush clover) is another big problem that has the attention of area conservation agencies as well as farmers. Because of McDowell's work controlling invasive weeds, the agencies are recommending landowners contact him about the lespedesza variety.



"It's a legume, but grows tall and stemmy. It will invade crop and pasture and out compete fescue," explained McDowell. "The conservation agency officials tell people I'm the guy with the equipment, the chemicals and the knowledge they need. It's not a big percentage of our business, but it helps."



Like many invasives, Sericea lespedeza was introduced for soil improvement, wildlife forage and cover. The semi-woody plant establishes a substantial seed bank in the soil. Unchecked, small patches spread, becoming more and more difficult to control, with burning actually enhancing its spread and domination of other vegetation. While cattle will graze it early, the high tannins and woody stem make it unpalatable.



"Dow AgroSciences PastureGard is specifically recom-mended for lespedeza," said McDowell. "On really poor pastures we used Grazon P+D and sometimes ForeFront R&P, as well as Milestone when we have more thistle."



A new tool in McDowell's kit is the equipment he and his customers have needed. With the help of Dow AgroSciences, the cooperative purchased a 300-gallon skid-mounted sprayer with two 18-foot boomless nozzles. In a matter of minutes, the sprayer can be loaded in a farmer's pickup and rented out for application work.



In 2008, the program got off to a good start with limited advertising. With the aid of word of mouth, things look even better for the coming year. "We were getting calls early," said McDowell. "Last year we sold considerably more herbicide, but the big thing was we solidified relationships with existing customers who previously had been aggravated when we said we couldn't spray their ground."



MFA is building business with a new segment of rural landowners, thanks in part to the new spray rig. Controlling invasive weeds is impacting the MFA location's business as well has allowing improved pasture and improved leased hunting-rights ground. Weekend farmers and hunting landowners come to the co-op for weed control, but increasingly leave with more. "They want to rent the sprayer for a burndown and then plant a food plot for deer and wildlife," said McDowell.