Kudzu: Where The Wild Things Are

Kudzu Covered Hill

Snakes. Hidden gullies. Washing machines. Animals, dead and alive. These are some of the things Extension plant pathologists encounter while scouting for soybean rust in the South.

Go ahead, admit it, you just thought someone walks into a soybean field and collects a few leaves for confirmation. In the South, it can be a walk on the wild side any time of year.

Why? One word: kudzu.

Kudzu, for the uninitiated, is a vine plant that quickly spreads over, under, and through anything that sits awhile. Brought into this country for erosion control, it’s another favorite host for soybean rust besides soybeans and is found primarily in the South. Much of it dies back in the winter, but pockets of protected kudzu, if infected with rust, can threaten the next soybean crop.

The ‘Fun’ Is In The Finding

Kudzu can grow up to 6 feet tall. Tom Allen of Mississippi State Uni­versity says he and his scouting team have found themselves shoulder-deep in kudzu patches. “You can look out across the area we’re in and not see anything but heads on a regular basis,” he says.

Snakes are one of the most common things underfoot. Ed Sikora of Auburn University came across a 2- to 3-foot water moccasin while checking a kudzu patch with a grower’s wife. Because it was near where her children play, he beheaded the snake. “I was holding him without his head and she was taking the picture — and the thing was still wrapping around my wrist,” he recalls.

Rabbits and other small animals run under the dense cover of kudzu. Clayton Hollier of Louisiana State Uni­versity recalls when an animal — possibly just a dog or something as dangerous as a small black bear on all fours — was running alongside the state’s primary rust scout, Patricia Bollich, but finally moved into another direction. “You never know what the animal really is until it gets to you or you get to it,” he adds.

Bob Kemerait of the University of Geor­gia says his scouts have even stepped into raging nests of hornets, yet “every one of us has been bitten by the hunt for soybean rust on kudzu.”

Not everything found in kudzu is alive, especially in urban settings. As Tom Isakeit of Texas A&M University puts it, “where kudzu grows, that’s where people tend to throw their trash.” While Sikora has discovered graffiti on kudzu-covered buildings, Isakeit gets kidded about finding not just rust, but also pornographic materials, in kudzu under bridges.

OK, Drop ’Em!

As kudzu layers accumulate, gullies, and other uneven patches are easily hidden. “A lot of times when we go into these wood patches, there are gullies that this stuff covers to make it look like just a flat bed of kudzu,” says Scott Monfort of the University of Arkansas. “Then you step in it and you may fall 2 feet. You take a stick with you to kind of poke and prod to make sure you don’t lose your footing.”

Billy Moore, plant pathologist emeritus from Mississip­pi State, noticed the ground felt uneven in one kudzu patch. Upon closer inspection, he discovered he’d been walking on top of a junkyard full of cars.

Leave a Reply

Fungicides Stories

Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybeans
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
FungicidesNew Players May Make Pest Headlines In Corn, Soybean
April 1, 2014
The usual insects and diseases took a bit of a break in 2013, but other culprits surfaced — and could return. Read More
Frog eye leaf spot on soybean
FungicidesMake The Case For Fungicides In 2014
February 3, 2014
New products are looking good, but will growers bite with lower crop prices? Read More
FungicidesMANA Introduces Custodia Premix Fungicide For Row Crops
January 14, 2014
New fungicide for corn, soybeans, and wheat contains the two most complementary systemic active ingredients available today in an optimized ratio to deliver both preventive and curative disease control. Read More

Trending Articles

Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More