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Incidence of Weed Seed in Cow (Bos sp.) Manure and its Importance as a Weed Source for Cropland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2017

Jane Mt. Pleasant
Dep. Soil, Crop, Atmos. Sci., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853
Kenneth J. Schlather
Dep. Soil, Crop, Atmos. Sci., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853


Manure applied to cropland may serve as a source of weed introduction and dispersal. In 36 manure samples from 20 farms, apparently-viable seeds from 13 grasses and 35 broadleaf plants were found. Common lambsquarters was on more than half the farms, yellow foxtail on 35%, common chickweed and dandelion on 30%, and wild mustard, redroot pigweed, and barnyardgrass on 25%. Four farms had manure with no seeds at all; the remainder averaged 75 100 per 1000 kg manure. Twelve milking-cow and heifer barns on six farms with large velvetleaf infestations also were sampled with an average of 133 000 seeds per 1000 kg manure. Only one barn contained velvetleaf seeds. When compared to soil seedbank numbers, manure is not an important seed source for New York farms. However, problems may arise with imported feeds heavily infested with weed seed or which contain even small numbers of noxious weeds.

Copyright © 1994 by the Weed Science Society of America 

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