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Palmer amaranth seed detection methods advancing

New methods to identify Palmer amaranth seed faster and more accurately are being developed.

Dr. Anthony Brusa, a postdoctoral associate of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota, says the prevention of Palmer establishment has never been more important as the invasive weed spreads further into major crop production areas of the U.S.

“The main difference between this and some of the other techniques that are out there is that we’re using a new type of chemistry called KASP, and the benefit of this is that it allows a very very high detection sensitivity.”

He tells Brownfield KASP technology is also easier to use and nearly 100 percent effective, which is critical considering Palmer seed is difficult to visibly distinguish from other pigweed species that don’t possess as many herbicide-resistant traits.

“When we ran 200 pigweed seeds, with one of them being Palmer, we were still able to identify the contamination. That is definitely due to the robust chemistry we’re using.”

Brusa says as efforts to prevent the further proliferation of Palmer continue, farmers can look forward to private testing labs utilizing KASP technology in 2021 to protect against seed contamination.

Colorado State is partnering in the research and will also offer a testing service through its internal business department.

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