ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Weed seed can be spread in a variety of ways — by air, animals, rain, soil and mechanical means.
In a recent survey, the Weed Science Society of America identified Palmer amaranth (PA) as a very problematic weed in many parts of the country.
To prevent Palmer amaranth from entering the professional seed supply, the native seed industry has been working closely with the scientific community on the development and validation of a rapid DNA test to identify Palmer amaranth.
“This new test will provide companies and their customers with an additional tool to ensure purity,” said American Seed Trade Association President and CEO Andrew LaVigne.
Developed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and Eurofins BioDiagnostics, with support from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Division Seed Program, the independently validated DNA sequencing method differentiates Palmer amaranth from other amaranth and weed species.
While still available on a limited basis, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Seed Unit recently announced it will accept the test for labeling purposes, as Palmer amaranth has been declared a prohibited noxious weed in the state.
The weed is also designated as “noxious” in Ohio.
In addition to the DNA test, seed producers may also use a grow-out method from Illinois Crop Improvement Association to evaluate whether weed seeds are Palmer amaranth.
Farmers who have identified Palmer amaranth in fields or conservation plantings are urged to contact their seed supplier, and local Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency or Extension professional.