A species of pigweed (Amaranthus palmeri or Palmer’s amaranth) has developed resistance to herbicides, particularly Round-up (glyphosate). This pigweed is found all over Burke County, and Di-Lane is no exception. Herbicide companies and local farmers have found other herbicides that control this pigweed, and WRD technicians use them, but they require timely rainfall. Despite the best efforts of forecasters and technicians, the rain did not come in time to control the pigweed.
There are several options when you’re dealing with a field full of herbicide-resistant pigweed:
- Do nothing and hope for the best.
- Mow or disk the entire field before the pigweed has time to produce seed.
- Spray the field with a desiccant herbicide to “burn down” the pigweed prior to hunters arriving.
- Think outside the box.
Wildlife Technician Ryan Meckel chose option 4 this year. The sunflowers had grown well in the youth dove field, and Ryan did not want to lose them. WRD has a good working relationship with the wildlife program at Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina. Ryan spoke with the instructors there and requested student volunteers for hand removal of pigweed. Hand removal requires either pulling the pigweed up from the ground or using a machete to cut all stems above the ground.
The students arrived late in the evening on Thursday, July 11. Seven student volunteers and two wildlife technicians worked Friday and Saturday to remove pigweed from 25 acres of sunflowers.
You may ask yourself why WRD and volunteers would remove pigweed by hand in the Georgia heat. The answer is two-fold: 1) to keep pigweed from making seed and getting an even stronger hold in the fields at Di-Lane and 2) to provide the highest quality resource for Georgia’s youth hunters and their families. Because of the effort of these volunteers (140 hours) and wildlife technicians, we hope there will be plenty of doves on this youth field to keep the hunters busy!