Monday, September 13, 2010

Cotton Elementary: Pigweed

Down here, we have big problems with Amaranthus palmeri or pigweed. It’s resistant to most herbicides on the market. It grows up to 3” a day, gets really big, and has hundreds of thousands of seeds to spread. It can choke cotton back to nothing, and it causes major issues when harvesting because the stalks are so thick. If the pigweed is not killed (or pulled, chopped down, or dug up in many cases!), it is possible for it to damage the machinery.

cotton elementary 0810 (43) Pigweed taller than cotton.

This year Brad is using a herbicide that does kill pigweed to a certain extent, but it has no residual, meaning that it doesn’t kill any seeds that may have germinated in the ground and might be a plant as tall as me the next week (well maybe not that big, but you know)! And I’ve seen a field after being sprayed where the pigweed dies back and comes back like was never sprayed.

cotton elementary 0810 (44) I made Gus sit next to it for size!

Brad has had to hire extra help to fight pigweed this year. For a quite a few days over the season, he’s had guys pulling/digging up weeds. That’s a lot of land to pull weeds on when you think about the possibility of walking 1400 acres of cotton, but they didn’t do all of it.

cotton elementary 0810 (48) Looking down from the top of the pigweed.

Pigweed is actually native to our continent and is edible and very nutritious. Brad keeps telling me I need to cook it! Maybe one day, I’ll go chop one down and see what I can make out of it!

cotton elementary 0810 (49) The top of the pigweed with cotton in the background.

ABC News did a pretty good little segment on pigweed this time last year. I got some of my info from there. Other stuff came from my teacher (you know, my sweet hubby!).


mountain mama said...

wow, nutritious? seems like something that would make me go sneeze!

very interesting!