A persistent, persevering pigweed named Palmer is making an appearance in Illinois. Not only does it threaten almost entire corn and soybean crops, but it also resists herbicide. It's from the Southwest but has somehow migrated to the Midwest and is now confirmed in 26 Illinois counties. “Because of its competitive ability,” says Aaron Hager, an associate professor of weed sciences at the University of Illinois, “it can be very, very difficult for farmers to adequately manage.”
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The weed, marked by small, black seeds, can wipe out 80 percent of a soybean crop and 90 percent of a corn crop. Hager says he is hoping to find a good sample of the Palmer amaranth in Illinois so he can research it more thoroughly.