Ongoing Study Using Tobacco to Combat Palmer Amaranth

NC State Extension Associate in Crop Sciences, Matthew Vann has been working on using tobacco in a rotation with other row crops to reduce weed populations, specifically Palmer Amaranth and has come up with some interesting results:

“Based off of some anecdotal evidence that we have gotten from farmers and other crop specialists, we know that when you have tobacco in a rotation with these other crops, in the years after tobacco, weed pressure and specifically palmer amaranth populations decrease drastically.”

With that observation in mind, a plan emerged to learn just exactly why explains Vann:

“We want to quantify how much that weed pressure decreases and what causes it. In our tobacco study, we start with tobacco in year one, then cotton in year two and then soybeans in year three, all in the same area.”

To begin the study, Vann says they went back to old-school basics:

“With the tobacco, we have two tillage treatments, where we compare deep tillage with a bottom plow to shallow tillage with just a small disc. The idea to compare is with deep tillage we are completely inverting the top 8” of the soil profile and we are burying weed seed where it cant germinate.”

As opposed to a shallow plowing:

“Conversely with the shallow tillage, which is what is typically done now in tobacco, we are only disturbing the soil profile about 4”. We know based on University of Georgia research that palmer amaranth seed viability goes down to 10% when the soil profile is left undisturbed for about 36 months, a three year crop rotation.”

We’ll hear more from NC State Extension Associate Matthew Vann on incorporating chemicals with tillage in the war against resistant Palmer Amaranth tomorrow on Today’s Topic.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*