Studies were conducted at one location in 1997 (W97) and in two locations in 1998 (E98 and W98) near Garden City, KS, to evaluate the impact of Palmer amaranth at densities of 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 8 plants/m of row on forage yield and quality of irrigated corn and to determine if harvesting Palmer amaranth–infested corn for forage rather than for grain would reduce losses. Weed-free corn, Palmer amaranth alone, and corn–Palmer amaranth harvested together were evaluated for forage yield and quality. Forage quality was determined by evaluating in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and crude protein (CP). Corn grain and forage yield declined with increasing Palmer amaranth density. However, decline in forage yield ranged from 1 to 44% of the weed-free yield at Palmer amaranth densities of 0.5 and 8 plants/m of row, whereas decline in grain yield ranged from 11 to 74% of the weed-free yield at the same densities. Digestibility of weed-free corn forage, expressed as IVDMD, was significantly higher than that of Palmer amaranth alone at W97 and W98. The CP of weed-free corn forage was similar to that of Palmer amaranth forage at W98, but it was lower at the other two locations. In contrast, CP did not differ between corn–Palmer amaranth harvested together and weed-free corn. The IVDMD of weed-free corn forage was greater than that of corn–Palmer amaranth mixture at W98, but no differences were observed at the other two locations. The relative feeding values of weed-free corn and corn–Palmer amaranth mixture were similar, and greater than that of Palmer amaranth in monoculture. These results indicate that Palmer amaranth interference in corn may not affect forage quality but can cause a decline in yield. This decline in yield is less when harvesting corn and Palmer amaranth together for forage rather than for harvesting corn grain alone.
Nomenclature: Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats. #3 AMAPA; corn, Zea mays L.
Additional index words: Forage quality, weed density, yield loss.
Abbreviations: ADF, acid detergent fiber; CP, crude protein; DM, dry matter; IVDMD, in vitro dry matter digestibility; NDF, neutral detergent fiber; RFV, relative feed value.