An NCR-SARE project at the University of Illinois sought to increase farmer knowledge and awareness and improve farmer's skills in managing perennial weeds using integrated management approaches. The project was conducted on sustainable and organic farms in Illinois and surrounding states.
Perennial weeds, such as Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) or field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), threaten the sustainability of farms in the Midwest. They can establish from seed or extensive, deep creeping roots, and are vigorous and very competitive against annual crops. Based on farmer input and university research, this project is designed to develop and disseminate information on Canada thistle management for use on sustainable and organic farms.
The project objectives were to: 1) expand a farmer-based research and co-learning network; 2) develop effective and sustainable systems for perennial weed management; and 3) disseminate information and foster farmer adoption of site-specific sustainable best management practices.
The project researchers sought to integrate tillage, mowing, cover crops, decision-making tools, and biocontrol approaches applied on a site-specific basis.
For a list of on-line resources related to Canada thistle biology and control, click HERE.
See how the 2008 mini-grants turned out. Seven farmers from Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri participated.
See how the 2009 mini-grants turned out. Fifteen farmers from Illinois participated.
In 2010, 16 farmers were chosen to participate in the project -- 14 in Illinois, one in Iowa and one in Wisconsin. The participating farmers were chosen through a mini-grant program developed specifically for this project. Check this site for progress reports as farmers begin testing sustainable weed management practices on their farms.
Alan Fennell, Sterling, IL
Andrea Hazzard, Pecatonica, IL
Thomas & Janet Jablonski, Blackstone, IL
Brad Long, Saybrook, IL
Todd and Julie McDonald, Manteno, IL
Greg & Janet Morse, Putnam, IL
Kristen Kordet, Stoughton, WI
Dave Campbell, Lily Lake, IL
Bryan Wagner, Findlay, IL
Paul St. John, Sugar Grove, IL
Ray Fox, Waterman, IL
Tracy Doonan, Reynolds, IL
Wayne & Ryan Wangsness, Decorah, IA
To read more about the research conducted for this NCR-SARE Research and Education project, visit the SARE online reporting website at http://sare.org/mySARE/ProjectReport.aspx?do=viewProj&pn=LNC07-282