EQIP help for growers with pigweed infestations

Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

IMG_0290PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Financial assistance is available to help growers combat Palmer pigweed, the most troublesome weed in Arkansas crops and a multimillion dollar pest, said Dr. Henry English, head of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

To help in controlling the pest, Dr. English is recommending a two-step, two-year plan with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for ridding fields of pigweed. If followed, this plan would also reduce herbicide usage while saving farmers money.

Dr. English is advising growers to first sign up for a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) 154, an integrated herbicide resistant weed conservation plan. The next year growers should sign up for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) 595. Both are Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) conservation practices.

After signing up, an NRCS-certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) will work with the grower to develop an integrated pest management herbicide resistance weed conservation plan with emphasis on modifying herbicide use for suppressing weeds on cropland. In this case, it would be a plan for dealing with herbicide resistant pigweed.

Growers will get EQIP payments on a cost share basis for the labor costs associated with the plan development.

Then, in year two with the CAP plan in hand, growers should sign up for Integrated Pest Management Plan 595, which covers implementation costs to suppress herbicide resistant weeds with emphasis on modifying herbicide use. It includes the costs of using key essential conservation practices, such as but not limited to, crop rotations, cover crops and residue tillage management, said Dr. English. It also covers the costs of any herbicides.

For this assistance in combating pigweed, the cost share percentages for 2015 are 60/40 with growers paying only 40 percent. The cost share percentage increases to 90/10 for qualifying historically underserved producers. This includes limited resource, beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Socially disadvantaged are American Indians, Alaskan Natives, African Americans, Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders and Hispanics.

“EQIP signup is continuous, but the sooner producers apply, the sooner they can begin to get a handle on eradicating pigweed,” advises Dr. English.

For more information or to sign up, contact your local NRCS office; for help in signing up, contact one of the following Extension associates – Arlanda Jacobs, (870) 714-5531 or aj72342@gmail.com; Alex Cole, (870) 630-2005 or Stephan Walker, multi-county Extension agent, (870) 575-7237 or walkers@uapb.edu.

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