Learning Module/Notebook

Elizabeth Bosak
Field & Forage Crops Educator
Penn State Extension
Dauphin and Perry

Bosak, E.*1,
1 Field & Forage Crops Educator, Penn State Extension, Dauphin, PA, 17018

Weed identification is a critical skill for livestock and crop producers, however, it is often ignored or the assumption is made that producers can already identify weeds.  Prior to completing the activity, most if not all pesticide applicators can recognize many of the weeds and where they grow on their property but cannot associate the weed with the correct common name.  In order to use herbicide efficacy charts and learn more about integrated weed management, producers need to know the common name. 

Over the past three years, a weed identification activity was created to teach private pesticide applicators how to identify common weeds in central Pennsylvania.  Most of the images were taken directly from Dauphin and Perry counties where the producers live and operate farm businesses.  At the beginning of the session, small groups form and each group receives a binder with weed images and a list of common names to match to the numbered images.  At the end of the group activity, each set of images is reviewed and weed life history and management strategies are discussed.  At the outset, there is some grumbling but typically by the end of the activity, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  This activity has also been adapted for vineyard pests to accommodate a small sub-set of wine producers that attend the field crops pesticide update meeting.  Based upon the success of this activity over the last three years, the activity will be revamped to include problem diseases and insect pests of field crops for 2021.