Organic vegetable farmer discusses weed control strategies

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Weeds can be a gardener's or a farmer's worst enemy, making them crucial to manage before, during, and after the growing season.

The South Dakota Local Foods Conference starts later this week, but one of their pre-conference sessions was held Wednesday. Organic farmer and educator Atina Diffley presented different weed control strategies to both large and small scale farmers. She comes from a 120-acre organic vegetable farm in Minnesota, and says the best time to stop weeds is before the crops are ever planted.

Certified Organic Farmer & Educator Atina Diffley says, "We'll probably spend 95% of our time on management strategies before we plant our cash crop. Once the cash crop's in the ground, then any weed management becomes very expensive and becomes hard to stay economically viable. So a lot of different strategies, reducing our weed seed bank, thinking about how much a plant canopies, knowing the life cycle."

Diffley was named "Organic Farmer of the Year in 2004 by Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services. The Local Foods Conference officially starts Friday in Spearfish.