Pigweed: A Genetically Diverse Monster

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/148021947/148022191" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

Pigweed is a weed that's changed life for practically every cotton farmer in Georgia. One expert says if you can't manage it, you won't be picking your cotton field.


And now a quick preview of a story coming to MORNING EDITION. Our food and agriculture correspondent, Dan Charles, just took a trip to Georgia. Here he is face to face with the number one enemy of Georgia cotton farmers. It's a weed that America's favorite weed killer can't kill anymore.

DAN CHARLES, BYLINE: I'm here in a greenhouse in Tifton, Georgia with Stanley Culpepper from the University of Georgia and we are looking at a weed that has changed life for practically every cotton farmer in this part of the country. It's called pigweed and it is a plague. Why is it a plague?

STANLEY CULPEPPER: It's ability to rapidly grow, our inability to control it economically and effectively, it's ability to produce a bunch of seed. It is a genetically diverse monster. Basically, if you can't manage it, you won't be picking your cotton field.

MONTAGNE: So this weed can't be killed by the number one weed killer in the country, the herbicide that goes by the trade name Roundup. And if Roundup won't work, what are farmers supposed to do? That's where the argument begins. We'll hear more on how to fight super weeds later this week.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.