- Editor's Note -

Dealing with pigweed is not a
lemons-to-lemonade situation

By Amanda Huber

 
As noted earlier this year, we moved back onto the farm. So this has been our first summer here, and although there have not been a lot of changes since I grew up in these sand hills, there are a few things that I don’t remember being as they are now.

One of those things is the number of grasshoppers. Maybe it was just a bumper year, but there are literally zillions of grasshoppers. At any given time, you could count 20 to 25 on the front of the house. Step into the yard and you create a sea of movement from grasshoppers jumping out of your way. There are big ones; little ones; green ones; brown ones; green and brown ones. My daughters played with them, caught them, named them and created habitats for them. Why not? They were everywhere.

In fact, at one point in the late summer I started to wonder if this many grasshoppers was approaching the level of a Biblical plague. But I know that plagues did a lot of damage in order to convince Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go, and these grasshoppers didn’t seem to eat that much, as we put up plenty of hay and mowed the grass constantly. My only real concern with it being a plague, other than what I had done to deserve it, was that the next plague might be frogs and that would be really icky.

Then along came fall and my daughters went back to school. One day my oldest daughter came home and said, “Mom, I have to do a science project.” Aha! The light bulb went on in my head. “Grasshoppers,” I said. “We have to do something with the grasshoppers.” After all, we had been living a science project all summer long. It was one of those – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade – type moments.

Having to combat pigweed in your fields does not provide one of those lemons-to-lemonade type moments. In fact, it’s more of a “sound the retreat” scenario as producers abandon fields taken over by this fast-growing and fast-spreading weed. Facing this possibility, three Southeast producers discovered a piece of equipment that really helped them out of their weed woes and made it possible to harvest their crop. Read more about this on page 10. Again, it’s not exactly making lemonade out of the pigweed situation, but any victory over this weed is a news worthy item.