Cotton gins in Arkansas, western Tennessee, and western Mississippi were sampled for weed seed contamination of gin trash in fall 2007. A total of 473 samples were collected, with 453 samples from Arkansas. The objectives of this research were to determine the weed species most frequently found in gin trash and determine what means gin operators are using to dispose of gin trash. There were 25 weed species found in the gin trash samples—11 grass and 14 broadleaf weeds. Grass and broadleaf weeds were present in 41.4 and 8.5% of the samples, respectively. The most frequently found species were large crabgrass (19.0%), barnyardgrass (14.0%), goosegrass (12.9%), red sprangletop (8.2%) and Palmer amaranth (4.2%). Viable seeds of barnyardgrass, large crabgrass, Palmer amaranth, and prickly sida were present in the surface layer (0- to 25-cm depth) of gin trash piles after 1 yr of composting. Viable Palmer amaranth seeds were present in the surface layer of gin trash piles after 2 yr of composting, but no germinable seeds were found deeper than 25 cm following 1 yr of composting. Gin trash disposal involved application of the material to crop fields during the fall or winter months; composting followed by application of the compost as mulch or a soil amendment to gardens, flower beds, or crop fields; use as cattle feed; and coverage for landfills to reduce erosion and encourage growth of vegetation. Because of the demonstrated potential for weed seed dispersal via gin trash, including composted material, development of technologies to ensure disposal of a gin-trash product free of viable weed seed are justified.
Nomenclature: Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv. ECHCG; goosegrass, Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn. ELEIN; large crabgrass, Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop. DIGSA; Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats AMAPA; prickly sida, Sida spinosa L. SIDSP; red sprangletop, Leptochloa panicea (Retz.) Ohwi LEFFI; cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L.