Chicory has grown in Lawrence County, South Dakota since at least the late 1800’s. Originally grown by European immigrants, chicory seeds were transported across the prairie for landscaping and homemade chicory root coffee. Today, chicory is a cash crop in other areas of the country and the root is ground for human consumption in coffee, cereals, and nutrition bars.
From 2001 – 2018, Lawrence County, SD experienced nine years of extreme drought or below-normal precipitation. Chicory is drought tolerant with a deep tap root. In 2019, chicory was placed on the Lawrence County, South Dakota, noxious weed list. In the valley where Three Heart Farm sits, the weed board’s concern is that the broad leaf plant is not native to the area and competes with other forage. Listed as a noxious weed prohibits the sale of hay containing seeded chicory. Other neighboring farms have annually applied post emergence herbicides which have been ineffective.
Three Heart Farm is an organic setting where alternative sustainable organic methods can be researched as positive alternatives to continuous ineffective herbicide applications. Using a variety of organic weed control strategies, the project will demonstrate the most advantageous option to sustaining the integrity of the prairie while meeting the state requirements of preventing noxious weeds from seeding.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Apply and evaluate Integrated Weed Management practices to control chicory via methods that are readilyachievable by small agriculture producers who do not want to apply herbicide to their land.
- Three Heart Farm remains committed to long-term sustainable organic farming practices while complying with the state laws regarding the control of county noxious weeds.
- Three Heart Farm will mow test plots at specific intervals and photograph/document chicory within each test plot.
- Three Heart Farm will monitor the clover test plot and hand pull chicory growth for second year comparisons
- Three Heart Farm will seed specific test plots with grass/clover/alfalfa to analyze the new growth and how it influences the growth of chicory.
- Document livestock and free-range chicken foraging effects on chicory and the surrounding area.
- The findings will be shared through social media and the education of agri-tourist guests.