Big weeds found at the Weed Doctor’s Booth at Farm Technology Days
Mark Renz, Extension Weed Scientist
This year we had 26 entries into the biggest weed contest. Past winners such as plumeless thistle and common mullein were entered as well as a new species, catnip. While the catnip didn’t win, we estimated that the value of the leaves of this one plant alone was more than $100. As usual the tall species were very impressive, as we received cattail, giant ragweed, and common mullein specimens all over 9 feet tall. The FTD winner was a massive giant ragweed plant, submitted by Steve Daniels from Shiocton Wisconsin. This ragweed was 113 inches tall and 52 inches wide. Since we calculate the winner based on the volume of the weed (height x width), the winner beat other entries of common mullein (108” x 48”) Angelica (108” x 48”) and horseweed (75” x 29”) that won for Tuesday’s (tie between mullein and knotweed) and Thursday’s daily contest. Although we collected several impressive specimens, none of these plants came close to last year’s winner, a burdock plant that was 30% bigger this year’s winner (95” x 95”). Perhaps the drought also took its toll on the biggest weed contest this year in addition to many of our fields.
We will again be holding this contest next year at FTD in Barron County, so start scouting fields this fall. Weed doctors are considering entering the competition in 2013 so start fertilizing your weeds now!