Wild buckwheat is a prolific and aggressive weed.  |  File photo

Weed of the Week: wild buckwheat

Wild buckwheat has long wound its way through producers’ crops and onto the list of the most obnoxious weeds in prairie fields. Its long, ropey stems wrap around a combine’s reel or carry more crop than the machine can handle up the feeder. As a result, Agriculture Canada has classified wild buckwheat as producers’ third […] Read more

Each shepherd's purse plant is capable of producing 45,000 seeds. | File photo

Weed of the Week: shepherd’s purse

Shepherd’s purse can have deleterious effects on farmers’ purses. This fall annual should be all but killed for this crop year, but the steady moisture supplies and last year’s open fall means this hardy pest might be lingering in many prairie fields. The weed was restricted to wetter spots and field edges before tillage was […] Read more

Dock is susceptible to a variety of broadleaf herbicides, but tillage is sometimes necessary.  |  File photo

Weed of the Week: field dock

Field dock’s single, sometimes forked, large taproot has allowed the weed to flourish since tillage was reduced in Western Canada. It pokes out of the crop where the sprayer missed, and at first the green flowers and stalks aren’t too noticeable. However, it later turns red and brown and sticks out like a sore thumb. […] Read more


Green foxtail or millet has spread to most prairie fields with reductions in tillage and sporadic field flooding, which has prevented weed control and normal cropping.  |  Patrick Alexander USDA photo

Weed of the Week: green foxtail

If there is one thing that setaria veridis doesn’t enjoy, it is tillage. Luckily for the weed, farmers have been reducing that particular agricultural practice for more than two decades. Green foxtail, as it is best known in Western Canada, has become a serious pest for prairie producers. It once showed up almost exclusively in […] Read more

Canada thistle can grow to 1.5 metres. Its seeds can remain dormant for up to 20 years.  |  File photo

Weed of the Week: Canada thistle

One of Canada’s nastier pests originally emigrated from Europe and then made its way west. Its European name describes it perfectly: creeping thistle. But Canadians have adopted it and call it their own — Canada thistle. It likely arrived as seeds, but once started, it laid down roots and started to colonize. Root buds will […] Read more


Wild mustard will attempt to produce seed even in drought conditions. |  Michael Raine photo

Weed of the Week: wild mustard

Wild mustard remains an elusive foe in Western Canada, despite all the great tools for controlling broadleaf weeds. It remains one of the pests that producers struggle with every year. The weed can condemn a canola crop to the sample reject bin if more than five percent is found. It is also a threat to […] Read more

Wild buckwheat is a prolific seed producer and a common nuisance in prairie fields.  |  File photo

Weed of the Week: wild buckwheat

Of the 10 most unwanted weeds in Western Canada, wild buckwheat is No. 3, according to producers. In Alberta, they say it is their least favourite pest. It can be tough to kill, degrades grain and oilseed samples, messes up harvests and will trip up the odd field scout. The ropy pest can prompt grain […] Read more

Hemp-nettle is part of the mint family, but don’t let that fool you.  |  USDA photo

Weed of the Week: hemp-nettle

Hemp-nettle is the nastiest of the many species of the mint family found in Western Canada. The pest, formally known as Galeopsis tetrahit, has been in Western Canada since at least the 1940s and became a significant problem in the late 1960s. It likes damper regions and thrives in moist, black soils. However, it has […] Read more


Kochia contains saponins, alkaloids, oxalates and nitrates that can be toxic to livestock, so it must be controlled in their diet.  |  File photo

Weed of the Week: kochia

Kochia is one of the Prairies’ more damaging weeds. And with three years of known resistance to glyphosate and many more Group 2 herbicides under its belt, the pest has found new ways to avoid farmer control. It has also developed Groups 4 and 5 resistance in North Dakota and Montana. Kochia, Kochia scoparia, is […] Read more

Weed of the Week: cleavers

Cleavers are something many producers would like to chop from their fields. The twisting and ropy vine-like weeds tangle through the crop, using up nutrients, water and farmers’ patience at harvest time. Galium aparine and Galium spurium, also known as false cleavers, are designated noxious under the Weed Control Act. False cleavers have a notch […] Read more