In the past few years, Palmer amaranth has snuck into Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio fields in an unexpected way: through CRP and native plantings. To prevent the weed from getting into the professional seed supply, researchers created a DNA test to identify the seed before it reaches the farm.
The DNA test is created by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and Eurofins BioDiagnostics, with support from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Division Seed Program. The test successfully differentiates Palmer amaranth DNA from other amaranth and weed species.
“This new test will provide companies and their customers with an additional tool to ensure purity,” says Andrew LaVigne, American Seed Trade Association president and CEO.
Minnesota has approved the DNA test for seed bag labels, but it’s only available on a limited basis. If farmers identify Palmer amaranth or suspicious weeds in CRP or native seed plantings, they should contact their seed supplier or a Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency or Extension agent.