Why haven't we put kochia and Russian thistle on the noxious weed list?

Asked April 20, 2019, 9:05 AM EDT

Russian thistle and kochia weeds are wrecking havoc throughout the eastern portion of our state. Why are we acquiescing to the farmers who allow four foot high weeds to grow on their summer fallow, break off and blow across the fields and pastures disturbing top soil and contributing to the erosion of top soil as they spread their seeds for another crop of the same. The big lie in agriculture is that we can't tell farmers how to farm. No, perhaps, but according to CRS 35-5, we can require them to control their weeds.

Cheyenne County Colorado

1 Response

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is responsible for developing the state noxious weed list. Currently there are 4 levels to the list. List A species are found in small enough populations to warrant eradication. List B species are found in populations that warrant containment to specific locations where they are found. List C species are located in wide enough populations that eradication or containment are not possible. With these species, education, research, and biological control resources are available to jurisdictions who wish to manage them. Watch list species are ones that may or may not be present, but which producers and public need to be made aware of to promote identification and reporting of when they are found.

According to the Kansas website (http://www.kswildflower.org/flower_details.php?flowerID=478), Russian thistle was introduced in the 1870s with flaxseed imported from Russia and is now considered naturalized. Kochia introduction and spread has a similar scenario.

Both species do not grow just on summer fallow ground, but can grow in rangeland settings, or on any disturbed land sites – i.e. – building sites, old farmstead, road ditches, construction sites, etc. The statute you reference states that it is the “duty” of all persons or entity owning land to control noxious weeds. There are various methods available for the control of noxious weeds and it is not just an issue specific to agriculture. There are many factors that have aided the spread of noxious weeds, specifically Russian thistle and Kochia.