Palmer amaranth, a highly competitive weed that can produce as many as 500,000 seeds per plant, has been confirmed in Emmons County in south central North Dakota, according to a statement released Wednesday, Sept. 11, by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. A crop scout brought a suspect sample to the local North Dakota State University Extension office, who submitted samples for DNA analysis to the National Agricultural Genotyping Center, where it was confirmed as Palmer amaranth, a plant native to the southern half of North America.

This is the second finding this year. Palmer amaranth was found in Grant County in late August. Last year, the plant was confirmed in five counties, including Benson, Foster, McIntosh, Dickey and Richland counties, and those sites continue to be monitored.

“I strongly encourage agricultural producers to monitor millet plantings for Palmer amaranth, as that may again be the likely source of infestation,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “With harvest season in full swing, farmers are encouraged to scout fields and clean excess dirt and plant debris off equipment between fields to prevent unintentional spread.”

Palmer amaranth has a fast growth rate of 2 to 3 inches per day and commonly reaches heights of 6 to 8 feet, greatly inhibiting crop growth, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

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To date, Palmer amaranth also has been documented in Douglas, Jackson, Lyon, Redwood, Todd and Yellow Medicine counties in Minnesota.