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Wednesday, December 1 • 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Bioherbicides for Montana and Elsewhere

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Organic growers have contended with weed problems by use of cover crops, tilling, and other management practices . Nonetheless, certain weeds are very difficult to control, be it for an organic farmer or a traditional farmer. Over more decades than I like to admit, our group has finally found out why most plant diseases may attack weeds, but few plant diseases do the job of adequate weed control. We found that plant diseases generally kill at the 20-40% level , leaving the majority of a weed patch for next year. However, weeds have a weakness. We found a way to select for weed pathogens that excrete amino acids and these selected strains have a real damaging effect on the weed population. We first found this out with hound's tongue weed and then shifted to Striga (toothpickproject.org) in Africa. There, we by using this virulence enhancement technology, were able to deliver a registered and commercially available bioherbicide to kill Striga (their worst weed). This bioherbicide, chemical free approach has taken off now to other countries where Striga (witchweed) is also a limiting factor for subsistence farmers. Now with support from a group of organic farmers (OAEC) and the Montana Department of Agriculture SCBG (USDA) and Montana State University (in a grant with 2 years to go), we are in the process of developing bioherbicides for Canada Thistle and Field Bindweed. We have some effective strains of fungi (greenhouse tested) and are proceeding with enhancing their virulence for next year's field season. This work is being done in our lab by Elizabeth D'Imperio and Dr. Suha Elhag (a postdoc from Sudan). We will also present our work on improving the nutritional value of crops grown in Montana and other work that may be of interest to organic farmers.

Integrated Pest Management CEUs: 1
Professional Development CEUs: 0.5

CCA Credits Available - Contact Gary Iverson for more information. giverson@montanaglutenfree.com

avatar for David Sands PhD

David Sands PhD

Professor of Plant Pathology, MSU - Department of Plant Sciences & Plant Pathology
Dave Sands, in an alternate reality where plant cells are computers and he is a plant hacker, took five decades to crack the code using fungi, with the goal of killing weeds and replacing chemical herbicides. He is a disruptive innovator, avid reader, teacher/mentor, napkin poet... Read More →

avatar for Gary Iverson

Gary Iverson

MOA Board Member - Executive Committee, At-large

Ole Norgaard

Owner, North Frontier Farms, Inc.

Wednesday December 1, 2021 12:00pm - 1:30pm MST

Attendees (6)