> Pigs will not get rid of Johnson grass. We confined a couple of pigs with
> electric fence in a small area with Johnson grass rhizomes. They rooted the
> entire area up during our wet winter. The soil structure was
> demolished--compacted to a fare-thee-well, and the only thing that grew the next
> season was Johnson grass. It has taken many years in our non-expanding
> (kaolinitic) clay soil to get some modicum of structure back. In my opinion,
> Roundup or something like it is the only reasonable way to rid an area of
> incredibly pernicious weeds like Johnson grass. That grass will push its way
> through heavy mulch fabric, grew up through 3 ft. of dense sawdust, can live
> through entire rainless California Central Valley summers, and each tiny rhizome
> fragment can make an entire 7ft tall plant by mid summer.
> If Roundup supposedly has such terrible effects (something not borne out in my
> experience with it--I have thriving worm populations), is it not possible for
> some substance to be invented which will kill plants and then simply decompose?
> I can see no reason not to use such a substance to be rid of a competitive
> organism like Johnson grass any more than I can see not to use a drug to
> eliminate parasitic worms from an animal (or human). I hardly know who to
> believe for information about Roundup. The organic folks are so extreme in
> their condemnation, and the company that makes it has no credibility at all. I
> tried to get information about the test results that were submitted to the state
> of California in support of registration, but was told they were 'proprietary
> information'. I would like to make an informed choice about this chemical, but
> am forced to choose between two extremes for information. Unfortunately we are
> several hours drive from a university library, so I cannot pore through research
> results like I could while living the academic life.
The main problem I've found with Roundup is that glyphosates are very close,
molecularly, to a complex molecule which is a plant nutrient. Since plants recognize
it as a nutrient, they absorb and transport it. This is why it is classed as a
systemic herbicide. The plant can't metabolize the glyphosate, so it stores it in
tissue and it builds up.I'm just an ordinary farmer, but I got this information from
Dr. Ivan Smith, a plant physiologist at Ohio U. during a class on Biointensive
farming. He talked about this in conjunction with site specific nutrient absorption
of root hairs.
Another problem is that glyphosates aren't broken down in the soils as fast as
claimed. The lower the bioactivity, the longer it takes. I imagine a good deal of
this is leaching into our water supplies.
> I market garden in a climate where Bermuda grass and Johnson grass are vicious
> weeds. I am trying to nearly eliminate tilling for many reasons. Partly because
> our clay soil compacts so badly, partly because I grow perennials like herbs,
> partly because keeping the soil covered is so much better for the plants in our
> extremely hot summers and high rainfall winters. And partly because I want to
> maintain permanent paths and small, intense, often-rotated and continuously
> cropped patches. Several species of worms keep the soil porous and dispose of
> the surface mulch pretty quickly. I currently use hay as the deep mulch, but
> it is hard to get weed-free hay, especially at a price under $160/ton. I find
> the weeds and weedy grasses germinating in the decaying hay in the fall to be a
> problem for fall planted things going in following the summer crops. An
> ecologically benign herbicide is exactly what I need for my cropping system. It
> would also make growing the mulch in place a lot more feasible in mild climates
> like this.
> Gary Matson -- Near Redding, California
> Greg & Lei Gunthorp wrote:
> > I've heard pigs will get rid of Johnson grass if they don't have rings. It
> > would be cheaper than tillage. If they structure it right the pigs might
> > even make some money instead of just spending money on fuel, iron, and
> > labor.
> > I think CROPP is still looking for organic hog farmers for an organic pork
> > marketing pool that they are starting.
> > Also, one of the organic growers in my area is using a machine that he
> > mounts on the front of the tractor to top all the weeds above the beans.
> > Its quite a strange looking contraption. He made it with 8 lawn mower
> > blades. He can at least try to break the weed seed cycle. Might help from
> > spreading the Johnson Grass farther.
> > My dad was talking the other day about how they grew soybeans before they
> > had herbicides. He said they used to put wheat in at the same time that
> > they planted the beans. The wheat being spring planted will die off by
> > early July and supposedly didn't hurt the beans. I've been thinking about
> > trying a small patch of RR beans using wheat and no herbicides next year.
> > I'm not organic, so at least that way I have a back up plan if the wheat
> > didn't work to keep the beans clean. Hopefully I won't have to use any
> > chemicals. Is that a sustainable approach? I had the dirtiest beans I've
> > ever seen this year trying reduced chemical applications. So herbicides
> > aren't fool proof either!
> > Best of luck,
> > Greg
> > Gunthorp's Pasture-ized Pork
> > LaGrange, Indiana (a stones throw from Ohio & Michigan)
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
> > visit our farm at www.grassfarmer.com
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Sean McGovern <email@example.com>
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
> > Date: Thursday, September 24, 1998 2:48 PM
> > Subject: Johnson Grass Control
> > >Dear Sannet:
> > >
> > >Has anyone seen any research into Johnson Grass control for organic
> > >rotations? I've seen some tidbits about the alleopathic affects of clover,
> > >(but no leads on varieties) and repetitive winter tillage to expose and
> > >eventually kill root stock, but nothing that I would feel confident passing
> > >along.
> > >
> > >There is an OEFFA grower (probably several) who had a big problem with
> > >Johnson grass in Vinton Soybeans this year. Can anyone help with research
> > >leads on control without using herbicides? Or herbicides that might be
> > >allowable in a certified system?
> > >
> > >Thanks for your help. Please repond directly to the list so the responses
> > >will be a part of the archives.
> > >
> > >Sincerely,
> > >
> > >
> > >Sean McGovern
> > >Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
> > >PO Box 82234 Columbus Ohio 43202
> > >(ph) 614/267-3663
> > >(fx) 614/267-4763
> > >email: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > >Visit OEFFA on the World Wide Web at www.greenlink.org/oeffa
> > >
> > >For OCIA/OEFFA Organic Certification services in Ohio, call OEFFA
> > >Certification Coordinator, Sylvia Upp at 419/853-4060 or fax 419/853-3022
> > >
> > >For OEFFA's Newsletter Submissions and Ads, call Newsletter Editor Holly
> > >Harman Fackler at 419/687-4761, fax at 419/687-8272, or email
> > ><email@example.com>.
> > >
> > >Shipping Only- Parhelion Building, OEFFA, 2232 N Summit St, Columbus, Ohio
> > >43202
> > >
> > >
> > >
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