Superweed introduced to Minnesota with conservation seed mix
Federal programs designed to help farmers set aside more habitat for bees and wildlife have produced a dangerous offshoot this year: Some mixes used to plant native grasses and flowers were contaminated with harmful weed seeds that have now been introduced onto hundreds of farms in several Midwestern states, including Minnesota.
The weeds include Palmer amaranth, one of the most prolific and devastating weeds in the country for corn, soybeans and other row crops. It has been a scourge for cotton and soybean farmers in the South and has slowly but steadily started to move north into the nation’s Corn Belt. The inadvertent planting of weed seeds on conservation land has greatly accelerated their spread, leading to the discovery of Palmer in Minnesota for the first time.