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Montana Ag Network: New noxious weed Ventenata threatening Montana private and public lands

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Posted at 6:14 AM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 10:11:20-04

At a recent range tour near Joliet, area landowners were shown what one of Montana’s newest noxious weeds looks like and why it’s so important that both landowners and land users help stop the spread of this invasive species to keep Montana’s private, state and federal lands healthy and productive.

Noxious weeds affect over 8 million acres of land in Montana. Bob Hull is a rancher near Joliet and says the new one that everyone should be on the lookout for - whether you live in the country or town - is Ventenata.

“Well, it’s scary,” said Hull. “If we don’t do anything with it and the way it spreads, I could see all of this rangeland being worthless.”

A healthy rangeland is the key to a successful operation. But now, Ventenata is threatening native grass species that his livestock depend on. That’s why he’s encouraging others to help stop the spread of this noxious weed.

“With Ventenata, so far, they haven’t found anything that will eat it,” said Hull. “So once you get that it’s over and the end of the game.”

He says one of the first steps is being able to correctly identify it.

“This time of the year, you need to go out and actually see what it looks like,” said Hull. “Otherwise, I don’t think you’ll necessarily be able to identify it.”

He says it really is everyone’s responsibility to help stop the spread of Ventenata and other noxious weeds here in Montana.

“It just seems like every year, there’s another new weed. We have enough of them already and we spend a lot of time trying to contain them,” said Hull. “I hadn’t heard about Ventenata until last year and now we can see we have a problem.”

For more information and resources about Ventenata and other noxious weeds here in Montana, contact your local county weed district office, the Montana Weed Control Association or the Montana Department of Agriculture.