Navigation Links
Sudangrass recommended to combat Canada thistle
Date:5/19/2010

Farmers who don't rely on or want to minimize the use of chemical herbicides need creative solutions to win the battle against aggressive perennial weeds. In ongoing research at the University of Illinois on Canada thistle, Sudangrass is proving to be a worthy contender as a summer smother crop.

"Sudangrass get very tall. It outcompetes the thistle for light. The Sudangrass creates shade so photosynthesis cannot occur in the thistle," said U of I weed scientist John Masiunas.

"In our test plots, primarily in the northern part of Illinois, we've seen 95 percent control, so farmers can plant a cash crop the following year in the patch that had been infected with Canada thistle."

Planting time of the smother crop of Sudangrass is critical, said Masiunas. "It's got to be seeded in the first couple of weeks in June. If you get much past the mid-to late June, the Sudangrass is not able to compete adequately because the thistle grows rapidly in that time period."

A combination of mowing and tilling the thistle before planting the Sudangrass is also recommended.

"Tilling and mowing the thistle interrupts its life cycle so that it can't put energy back into the roots," Masiunas said. Mowing the Sudangrass is important for several reasons. "You can mow to prevent seed heads from forming on the Sudangrass and reseeding itself, and mowing helps to control the amount of residue. If you let the Sudangrass grow the entire season, you'll have a plant seven or eight feet tall, with a lot of shoot tissue, a lot of biomass to deal with. So when you mow it, you just leave it as a surface mulch."

Research on the use of Sudangrass conducted by graduate student Abram Bicksler originated from questions from organic farmers about Canada thistle. "Particularly for sustainable or organic farmers, Canada thistle was becoming very difficult to manage and was becoming the problem weed," Masiunas said.

After Bicksler's project was completed, Masiunas received funding from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) for additional research with farmers around the state. For the past three years research specialist Dan Anderson has been working with from 9 to 20 farmers each summer on environmentally friendly ways to control Canada thistle.

"The farmers I've been working with are primarily in the northern part of Illinois," Anderson said. Because of the weed's adaptation, Canada thistle needs a longer day, so it's not as much of a problem in southern Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, or Alabama.

"I've seen some horrible fields in northern Illinois, just full of thistle. "The Sudangrass was planted on patches of ground where Canada thistle was prevalent, some larger patches and some smaller. That's one of the advantages to this is you don't have to devote the entire field to this." Masiunas stressed that the problem is usually found in patches. "What we're aiming at is to eliminate a problem in patches that occur in a field. Our purpose is not to manage Canada thistle on 100 acres but in areas that might be 100 square feet," he said.

"The hope is that the farmer would catch the Canada thistle in a relatively small patch in an intensively managed farm. If they're doing a lot of tillage, they're not going to have as severe a case of Canada thistle. If they're doing reduced tillage and staying on top of the weeds, they might have a small patch of Canada thistle, but it shouldn't have taken over a whole field."

Anderson said that some of the farms he has been working with also have a livestock component. "The Sudangrass can be mowed and left as a smother crop, or it can be grazed," he said.

Is this a strategy that a conventional farmer would consider trying?

Masiunas said that conventional farmers might incorporate Sudangrass as an integrated pest management approach if they're trying to diversify their management strategies. "You're generally not going to get 100 percent control with any type of herbicide that you can use against Canada thistle 95 to 98 percent control is about the best you'll get with the best application of herbicides. And we're getting a similar level of control with Sudangrass."

Farmers who participate in the weed project are paid $250 at the beginning of the study and the remaining $250 at the end after they submit a report. "It helps us a lot because we've been able to explore what works and what doesn't work on actual farms," Masiunas said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Debra Levey Larson
dlarson@illinois.edu
217-244-2880
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ozone levels tend to be above recommended levels at this time of year in South West Spain
2. Systems biology recommended as a clinical approach to cancer
3. Interventional treatment can be recommended as first-line treatment for silent killer
4. SC Magazine: Entrust Entelligence Messaging Server Earns Five-Stars and Recommended Rating
5. Potential new drug target to combat Kaposis sarcoma
6. Policy unveiled to combat diarrheal disease, a killer of Kenyan children
7. ARS scientists turn to a wild oat to combat crown rust
8. Magnetic nanoparticles show promise for combating human cancer
9. Disarming specialized stem cells might combat deadly ovarian cancer
10. Microorganism may provide key to combating giant salvinia throughout Louisiana
11. Satellite data instrumental in combating desertification
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing ...  3D medical LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range ... ... ... Sony 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... DUBAI , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... choice when it comes to expanding freedom for high ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there ... online conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal ... are obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April 26, ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys ... announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... customers enhanced security to access and transact across ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome ... in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The ... to advance its drug development efforts, as well as ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to ... traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, ... 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, ... and multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess ... of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... either as a single dose (ranging from 45 ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... software, is exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s ... conference. ClinCapture will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials ...
Breaking Biology Technology: