Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cogan Or Cogon Grass However You Spell It Is The New Enemy!

Following is an older post that I just had move back to the top of my blog list.  Ronnie and I were on our way home from work today, the road crews were out mowing, and we both saw it at the same time, patches of cogan grass that the crews were mowing right over.  The cost of fighting this grass is sure adding up on our operation, and yet seeing it spread every time the county mows grass is sure had to watch.  One thing is for sure I am going to be on a letter writing mission to my state and county concerning this issue.  Education about this grass is not just needed it is necessary, and I pray it isn't already to late.  We have spent the past four years fighting it on the farm and at this point I would have to say the best we have been able to accomplish is a draw.  I don't have the actual cost figures in front of me but I know it has been a bunch.

Back in 2006 we were showing some bulls to a buyer we were also giving him a tour of the farm. We drove to an area that we had not been to in awhile and when we got out of the truck to walk around he said oh man you have Cogan grass. At that point we didn’t know what cogon grass was much less what to do about it. We found out more on this invasive grass, when we applied for the EQUIP program the following year.

When going over plans with staff from the Soil and water conservation services one of the items that they recommended we address was cogon grass. We utilized all the recommendations, spraying with an herbicide mixture called Cogan then tilling the area that was infested. We tilled this area three or four times over the summer in addition to continuous spraying. We then replanted the field with Pensacola Bahia. We thought we had won the battle over this enemy, until this spring when it reared its ugly head again in the same field. We have also found it in small spots over several of our pastures. We are on a mission to eradicate this enemy from our farm.

I feel one of the reasons that this grass is taking over our landscape and I am speaking all over our county, not just on our farm, is that people don’t know about it or what to do about it. Cogan grass has spread across the southern U.S. since arriving as packing material in crates shipped from Asia to Mobile, Alabama in 1912. The invasive grass, chokes out native plants and causes problems for livestock and wildlife, this is a grass that even goats won’t eat!

I have been researching ways to eliminate this grass, but in talking to a number of folks realized that many people like us in 2006 don’t realize what a menace this grass is to all of us. It will take over a neighborhood if not addressed, it will ruin wildlife habitat. And most people don’t even recognize it.

One way that this grass spreads is on equipment, if you mow over it, grass on you mower deck will spread it to other areas of you property. When county workers mow the roadways and hit a patch of Cogan grass it is just spreading the growth further down the highway!

You don’t have to be a farmer or in agriculture to join the fight against Cogan Grass. The first thing you need to do is educate yourself. Before you can fight it you have to know what it looks like here are a few pictures take a close look!

Looks sort of pretty doesn’t it. Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is one of the world’s ten worst weeds and has already invaded 153 billion acres worldwide. Cogongrass is becoming established in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, and has now been found in South Carolina. In Florida alone, it has infested one million acres, where it has displaced many native species of plants. Cogongrass will invade pastures, where it reduces the forage quality because its leaves are unpalatable to livestock. It can quickly displace other vegetation in forests and fields, including native plants that birds and small animals need for shelter and forage.

Following are a couple of articles to read to learn more from folks that know more than I about how to fight this enemy:





Please keep your eyes open and if you have this grass on your farm or in your yard take the necessary steps to eradicate it!