It’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week, and for many farmers the key problems are similar to what we faced years ago. We kids raised money and suffered sunburns by walking corn and soybean fields to eradicate problem weeds. Back then cockleburs, buttonweeds, and what we called “iron weeds” were our enemies.
Nowadays, herbicide resistant weeds such as Palmer amaranth (pigweed) are moving in, and it might take more than a motley crew of teens to keep the fields clean. The following links provide insights about the fight against problem weeds and invasive species.
** Farmfutures.com looks at various activities occurring during National Invasive Species Awareness Week.
** The Weed Science Society of America is one of the sponsors of the initiative that focuses on the costly damage caused by invasive species. Invasive weeds alone represent a multibillion dollar annual drain on our economy, experts say.
** This well-respected weed expert says herbicide resistant weeds are everyone's problem, and it could cost some growers their livelihood.
** In an odd connection to the weed issue, these experts say dogs are capable of more than many people realize, from detecting explosives and drugs, to sniffing out noxious weeds.
Involved Research Leads to Timely Commentary Regarding Invasive Plants--Avoiding the Next Kudzu
The new CAST Commentary, A Life-cycle Approach to Low-invasion Potential Bioenergy Production, is available here.
Bioenergy is being pursued globally to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide a reliable energy source. To lessen conflicts with existing food/feed production, bioenergy crops are bred to grow on marginal lands with minimal inputs. Many are concerned that new invasive species may be introduced as bioenergy crops. The authors of this commentary show that the risk of invasion can most effectively be prevented through a life-cycle approach that adopts appropriate scientific and policy tools at each step in the production process, from crop selection to field production, feedstock transport and storage, and decommissioning--thus avoiding the "kudzu effect." This paper provides a clear, comprehensive framework to guide regulatory agencies in the selection and permitting of biofuel feedstocks.
(top cartoon from bioterra.blogspot.com; bottom from comicsidontunderstand.com)