May 5, 2021

Minnesota can be a model for other states in the fight against invasives weeds. That’s the message of a newly published article highlighting the successful work against Palmer amaranth in Minnesota. The article “Timeline of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) invasion and eradication in Minnesota” is being included in Weed Technology, a publication of the Weed Science Society of America.

Palmer amaranth is listed as a noxious weed in Minnesota and was first discovered in the state in 2016.

Left uncontrolled, a single female Palmer amaranth plant typically produces 100,000 to 500,000 seeds. It is resistant to multiple herbicides, can cause substantial yield losses, and greatly increase weed management costs in soybeans and corn.

The article highlights the work of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, University of Minnesota Extension, farmers, and other partners to identify the weed in fields, determine how it got to Minnesota, and implement strategies to eliminate infestations. To date, Palmer amaranth has been found in nine counties around the state; however, most of the sites have been successfully eradicated and the remaining are being closely monitored. Details of previous finds can be found on the MDA website.

“Although our work with Palmer amaranth is far from completed, what we have accomplished has been critical to protecting Minnesota’s ag economy from this serious threat,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We believe this collaborative effort to fighting invasives can work in many settings.”

"Education has played a key role in limiting the spread of this weed. We're committed to research and continuing our work with farmers and other partners across the state to protect crops from the threat of invasive species," said Extension Dean Bev Durgan, who is also a weed scientist.

There are several keys to successful eradication of the invasive weed according to the article. First, a robust state noxious weed program, like the MDA’s, is critical, and it needs appropriate funding and an independent advisory committee. Second, support is needed from the legislative and executive branches and commodity groups and farmers. Finally, continued success is more likely if surrounding states are collaborating on eradication.

Along with its designation as a noxious weed, which requires all above and below ground parts of the Palmer amaranth plant destroyed and not moved, it is also listed as a prohibited weed seed in the state. This means seeds of the weed are not allowed in any seed offered for sale in Minnesota.

Find photos and more information on Palmer amaranth here.


Media Contacts

Margaret Hart, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
651-201-6131 or 651-592-6908

Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension