In our semi-arid environment, chicory can quickly spread into adjoining pastures and hay land, choking out desirable plants, creating unhealthy ground cover and plummeting forage and crop production. Livestock generally avoid the maturing plant. Marketing of forage products from an infested field is prohibited.
Chicory has historically existed where our farms are located, thus creating a vast accumulation of chicory seeds in our soils. Post-emergence herbicides have been typically ineffective. Failed control methods generally propagate chicory further. Chicory has become prolific in many previously weed-free areas well beyond our farms' location. Consequently, Lawrence County has listed chicory on the county’s noxious weed list for 2019.
Our farm's proximity to each other, the conventional practices of Butte Vista Farm and the organic certification of Three Heart Farm creates an opportunity to demonstrate Integrated Weed Management’s effectiveness in controlling chicory in side-by-side operational processes. By blending and incorporating five strategies (preventive, cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical) into realistically-doable applications, an effective, ecologically-sound, financially-viable solution that is suitable for nearly any agricultural operation can be demonstrated. Long-term operational sustainability through enhanced quality and production of the land, resource stewardship and improved bottom line for the family farm then becomes more plausible.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. Apply and evaluate Integrated Weed Management practices to control chicory via methods that are readily-achievable by average producers, both short- and long-term, in accordance with conventional and organic parameters. Specifically:
a. Butte Vista Farm will test weed control results on intensively-grazed and non-grazed test plots varied rates of pre-emergence herbicides, post-emergence herbicides and no chemical, and
b. Three Heart Farm will evaluate mowing at different intervals, no-till seedings of grass and clover, and grazing free-range chickens.
2. Neither farm will market infested hay.
3. We will share findings through field days, a website, social media, newsletter, activity blog and Agri-tourist guests.