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Internationally known scientist to study Arkansas weed problem

Arkansas

Palmer pigweed has been a major weed problem for Arkansas farmers for years. Now, pigweed is becoming even more of a problem as it develops resistance to the farmer's chief weapon in the arsenal--an herbicide called glyphosate, sold commercially as Roundup.

Researchers believe that if pigweed, or Palmer amaranth, can't be controlled by glyphosate, it will add major costs to farming and drastically change the way the land is farmed.

The University of Arkansas' Division of Agriculture is bringing in an internationally known expert in weed resistance to work with division researchers and extension scientists.

Dr. Paul Neve, a senior research fellow at Warwick University in England, will arrive in Little Rock on July 16 and spend several days studying the Arkansas problem.

"Neve has worked on ryegrass resistance in Australia and has become the recognized world leader in modeling herbicide resistant weed populations," said Dr. Ken Smith, weed scientist for the U of A Cooperative Extension Service.

"We're asking Dr. Neve to assist us in our efforts to supply the best information possible to our farmers about the potential spread and management of resistant pigweed," Smith said. "Our hope is that Dr. Neve will be able to help us in making informed decisions about pigweed management and highlight our education efforts in resistance management."

Smith said that on the second day of his trip, Neve will meet with the press at Lonoke and see resistant pigweed growing in a U of A greenhouse. He'll then travel to Newport and view U of A cotton and soybean production systems, view pigweed growing in research plots and meet with farmers to discuss their weed problems.

On July 18, Neve will conduct a seminar for researchers and U of A students at Fayetteville and tour university facilities. The next day, he'll meet with a small working group of weed scientists and help develop a computer model of the resistance problem and develop strategies.

Smith is confident that Neve will bring a new level of understanding to resistant pigweed problem and "make a large contribution to our program."

Syngenta, a national crop protection company, and the U of A are co-sponsoring Neve's trip.

For more information about weed resistance, contact your county extension agent or visit www.uaex.edu and select Agriculture, Soybeans, Weed Management and Herbicide Resistance--a Growing Problem in Arkansas.

Date: 7/26/07


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