An invasive super weed attacking crops spreads in the region

Palmer amaranth is an invasive weed spreading through South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota agriculture officials say a super weed that can devastate corn and soybean crops has made new incursions into the state by way of livestock feed.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says cows have eaten remnants of the weed in feed and it has shown up in manure that farmers spread on fields. The Star Tribune reports that it has been confirmed in six Minnesota counties.

North Dakota State University officials gearing up to fight the weed say the spread of Palmer amaranth can reduce yields by up to 91% for corn and 79% for soybeans.

The aggressive pigweed species is native to the desert regions of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, but has spread to more than half the states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, spring planting is getting underway in South Dakota.

The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that 2% of the spring wheat crop and 3% of the oats crop are seeded. Both are well behind the average pace, after severe flooding in the state.

The wet spring has boosted soil moisture. The report says topsoil moisture supplies statewide are rated 100% adequate to surplus, and subsoil moisture is 99% in those categories.

The state's winter wheat crop is rated 2% poor, 45% fair, 51% good and 2% excellent.

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