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Kochia’s Eastward March - A growing concern for farmers
Minnesota Ag Connection - 09/26/2023

Historically, Kochia, a resilient tumbleweed, has been a notable concern in western areas like Minnesota and the Dakotas. Ryan Miller, Extension Educator - Crops, and Debalin Sarangi, Extension Weed Scientist, have observed its presence even in south-central Minnesota near I-35, hinting at a possible eastward expansion.

Known for its early emergence and adaptability to both drought and cold, Kochia poses a unique challenge. Unlike other weeds, it has a low level of seed dormancy, which can be both a benefit and a concern for weed management. For comparison, managing a weed like waterhemp may take up to four years of preventing seed production to control its spread.

Kochia’s ability to emerge early and potentially extend its emergence later into the season, coupled with its unique mode of dispersal, makes it a significant concern. As a tumbleweed, it can travel long distances, either by wind or by attaching itself to moving objects, enhancing its spreading potential.

Adding to the challenges, various Kochia populations have developed resistance to multiple herbicide groups, including Group 2 ALS inhibiting herbicides, Group 4 growth regulator herbicides, and others. This resistance complicates the control and management of Kochia, necessitating vigilant monitoring and adaptable strategies.

For those encountering Kochia, identifying it correctly is crucial, and resources are available for tips on identifying this adaptive weed. Its presence in new locations, adaptability, and herbicide resistance underscore the importance of keeping tabs on this weed, as it could have far-reaching impacts on agriculture

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