Comprehensive Spotted Knapweed – Bedstraw Control Project
Huot-Kinne Farms is located on 215 acres in Columbus, NY with 80 acres of hay land and psture. We raise dairy replacement heifers and hay.
We noticed that cows did not want to eat a rather woody plant in the baled hay – knapweed. Knapweed has infested 50% o the hay and pasture lands. Bedstraw is a persistent problem.
–Poor livestock forage
–Spiny stems and leaves
–Becomes woody as it matures
–Takes advantage of disturbed ground
–Competes with desirables
–Devalues pasture land
–Reduces hay quality
We wanted to find a way to control the knapweed and bedstraw without using traditional chemcals, as well as a strategy that could realistically be used by area farmers.
Insect biocontrol – Blunt flowerhead weevil (Larinus obtusus) and knapweed root weevil (Cyphocleonus achates) were used. Last year we were uncertain of the knapweed flower weevils we got from our supplier. This year we used both knapweed flower and root weevils. We are certain of their application. We will not know the results of the application until later next year.
Lime – Starting pH was approximately 5.6. Lime was added each year at approx. 2 tons/acre to see if it would help increase the competitiveness of desired plants. It seems that lime helps everything grow well (up to a point).
Cow/sheep grazing – 3-4 Jersey heifers per year were put in a penned area. From visual inspection this area is looking much improved in color and grass quality.
Seeding – This year we added one additional treatment – a late summer seeding with Alice white clover and Baridana orchard grass, using a no-till grain drill. This area is adjacent to the mowed test area and has the same knapweed-bedstraw infestation. There was little or no rain the following four weeks, so the results are questionable.
Mowing – Three plots were established, one mowed once per season, one twice per season, and one three times per season.
Herbicides for bestraw and knapweed – Two plots were established. In one, Dicamba was used for Knapweed and in the other, Crossbow was used for bedstraw.
Control plots – Two plots were established along the edge of the mowed area.
Tpercent cover and size of the bedstraw and knapweed plants evaluated in 2004 and 2005; we also looked at other elements in the environment at the plot center.
After two years of data, with one more year planned, most of our treatments are showing a decrease in knapweed. Bedstraw results are not yet promising.