MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — It's a beast of a weed, creeping north into the Midwest from cotton country.
Palmer amaranth shoots up as high as 7 feet, and just one plant can produce up to a million seeds. Herbicide is increasingly futile against it, and its thick stems and deep roots make it hard to clear by hand. It can slash yields and profits when it gets out of control.
Midwestern weed scientists are sounding the alarm because Palmer amaranth turned up in Iowa and this summer and can cause deep losses in corn and soybean yields.
Bill Johnson of Purdue University says it's not just a nuisance, it's a game-changer.
Stanley Culpepper of the University of Georgia says southern cotton growers already spend about $100 million a year to try to manage it.