- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - An invasive weed that can grow up to 7 feet tall has been found in nearly half of Iowa’s counties, and experts say farmers need to act quickly if the plant is found in their fields.

Bob Hartzler is a professor of weed science at Iowa State University. He told the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/2jOBmRw ) that the species known as Palmer amaranth shouldn’t be ignored and has the potential to drive farmers out of business.

“One of the problems is that one plant (of Palmer amaranth) produces hundreds of thousands of seeds,” he said. “By just allowing a small number of these plants to survive, it could become a big problem for the foreseeable future.”

Jon Brown, an agronomy salesman for Three Rivers FS, discovered the Palmer amaranth in a cornfield on the eastern side of the county. He said the cost to treat the problem could hit farmers’ wallets.

“Farmers could see a spike in the cost-per-acre on herbicides, if they are going to do it right,” Brown said. “And that is what it is going to take.”

The weed prominently appeared in the region’s cotton fields in the 2000s. It was categorized as a “super weed” because of its ability to quickly grow and its resistance to many herbicides.

In 2013, the weed was spotted in five Iowa counties. As of October, it had been seen in nearly half of Iowa’s 99 counties.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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