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Morning Sun
  • School teaches weed management

  • Most people didn’t go to school to learn about the intricate details of weeds. But Dr. Curtis Thompson did.

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  • Most people didn’t go to school to learn about the intricate details of weeds. But Dr. Curtis Thompson did.
    And on Wednesday, Thompson, a Kansas State Extension weed scientist, he helped local farmers learn just some of the same information he’s learned about the state’s weed problem.
    The Cherokee County Extension Agency hosted a Weed Management School on Wednesday for local producers to get a jump on the foes for flora.
    “The more you know, the more complex it becomes,” Thompson said. “There are a lot of weed species out there, and all are very different. What we learn here is just a drop in the bucket.”
    And there is plenty to learn about weeds. The roughly 30 farmers attending the school learned that weed seeds can last years in the soil, including field bindweed, which can last up to 50 years in the soil.
    “If it was easy to kill weeds, you wouldn’t need us, and you’d have it taken care of,” Thompson told the group. “... Weeds are opportunists, adapted to capture resources. They have the ability to take over any leftover resources out there. That’s why we do need an integrated weed approach, putting together a system of techniques to take care of weeds at a number of stages, starting with germination and going on.”
    There have been several advances in herbicides over the years, with glyphosate (also known by its brand name, Roundup) being widely used. But Thompson and his colleagues said Wednesday that the rampant use of glyphosate has brought about certain forms of resistant weeds, which are starting to be seen more often.
    Thompson stressed to the group the need to use a variety of control methods to prevent the emergence of weeds, otherwise glyphosate-resistant weeds could spread faster. He compared it to a baseball pitcher only using one pitch.
    Dennis Elbrader, Cherokee County Extension agent, said that the event means a lot to the farmers of southeast Kansas.
    “We do this to keep producers and agribusiness people supplied with chemical and technology updates,” Elbrader said. “We want them to have the different techniques, and apply them. We’re also teaching weed identification for weeds you see around here. We want them to be able to identify the weeds when they are first emerging, which can be harder to do.”
    That’s important for farmers like Derrick DeLange, Girard, who can use what he learned to be a little more knowledgeable when out in the fields.
    “I’ve learned the differences between the weed grasses,” DeLange said. “I can take that and tear the weed apart and know what it is rather than just pull it out of the ground, which might not help. This way, I don’t have to call the co-op[erative] to get them to figure out what it is and how to take care of it.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.
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