Weed resistance and invasive plant species are increasingly a problem in the Mid-South and farmers continue to seek remedies to address them.

The two issues will be the subject of a special educational seminar Feb. 26 in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show at the Cook Convention Center at Memphis.

“Our show has increasingly become a forum for spotlighting issues of concern to farmers and for exchanging ideas,” says Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and manager of the annual trade show.

“By offering an opportunity for farmers to interact with fellow farmers and experts from industry, research, and education, our educational seminars can help everyone have a better understanding of problems and ideas for potential solutions. Many ideas that originated with farmers have found their way into equipment, products, and services that have benefited the entire industry.”

At last year’s show, a seminar focused on weed resistance — increasingly a problem for growers across the Mid-South. “That was Weed Resistance 101,” Price says. “This year, we’ll have Weed Resistance 201.

“Whether it’s johnsongrass, pigweed, or barnyardgrass, and whether you grow cotton, rice, or soybeans, herbicide-resistant weeds are a persistent issue. Although this is not a new agriculture issue, the number of herbicide-resistant weeds has increased in recent years. We want farmers to have the latest information so they can appropriately plan for the 2011 crop season.”

The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds (www.weedscience.org) provides the latest information on resistant species. Nationwide, it has identified 349 resistant biotypes and 194 species.

The top 10 herbicide-resistant species are rigid ryegrass, wild oat, redroot pigweed, common lambsquarters, green foxtail, barnyardgrass, goosegrass, kochia, horseweed, and smooth pigweed.

The survey notes herbicide resistance is prevalent across the U.S., including the Mid-South. In Arkansas, there are 20 known biotypes of resistant weeds; Louisiana has six, Missouri 12, Mississippi 17, and Tennessee 12.

University researchers and industry experts have been invited to provide an update on the state of weed resistance in the Mid-South, and offer farmers direction on the best ways to address the weeds in their farm fields.

As if weed resistance weren’t enough, farmers are faced with invasive plant species — non-native plants that have taken root in the Mid-South. According to the GeoResources Institute at Mississippi State University, there are some 40 invasive plant species prevalent in the five Mid-South states.

Invasive plant species

“It was surprising to learn of the scope of invasive plant species in the Mid-South,” Price says. “Kudzu may be the most-recognized, but others are equally damaging, as farmers can attest. How growers can deal with these plant problems as they plan their 2011 production activities will be covered in the session.

The educational seminar will be held beginning at 1 p.m., Saturday, February 26, on the mezzanine level of the Cook Convention Center. The final agenda, including featured speakers, is being developed, but additional details will be available on the show website (www.farmandginshow.org).

“By attending the show, growers will not only be able to see an incredibly diverse array of exhibits under one roof, but they will also be able to participate in seminars that offer up-to-the-minute information on topics of value to their operation,” Price says.

The Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, sponsored by Southern Cotton Ginners Association and Foundation and Delta Farm Press, is in its 59th year. It has become a “must attend” event for producers in the Mid-South states and beyond, as it is held at a key decision-making time when farmers are making plans for the new crop year.

“With over 400 exhibitors from more than 40 states and several foreign countries, farmers attending the show have direct access to the latest technology, whether it’s seed genetics or farm equipment and machinery, as well as industry experts with the knowledge farmers need to make decisions for the 2011 crop year,” Price says.

In addition to the special educational seminar on weed resistance and invasive species, show attendees can attend Ag Update seminars, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, beginning at 8:30. Sessions include outlooks for grains and cotton, as well as updates from cotton industry representatives.

Each year, more than 20,000 decision-makers attend the show. Admission is free but registration is required for access to show areas. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26.

For more information about the show, contact the Southern Cotton Ginners Association at 901-947-3104, or visit the website www.farmandginshow.com.