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Fast Growing Weed Threatens Farmers

DES MOINES, IA (AP) - A fast-growing weed that has tormented southern farmers has been found in Iowa.   

The Des Moines Register reports that agronomists are trying to determine whether the Palmer amaranth weed found in five counties is herbicide resistant. The weed can carry 1 million seeds and grow up to 7 feet tall.   

Agronomists say even a moderate infestation can rob farmers of two-thirds of their corn and soybean yields. That in turn could hurt Iowa agribusinesses. It also means that farmers may have to use more, and potentially more toxic, chemicals to battle the aggressive weed.   

Iowa State University agronomy professor Mike Owen says the weed could cause prices to rise for sodas, cereals, fuels and other goods derived from corn.

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