Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture has updated its noxious weed list to include ventenata (Ventenata dubia). The Noxious Weed Listing Workgroup recommended adding ventenata to the Priority 2A list at its meeting on March 21, 2019. The amendment was adopted on June 21st, 2019. Priority 2A weeds are common in isolated areas in the State and require eradication or containment where less abundant. Management can be prioritized by the local weed districts.
“Ventenata is increasing at a faster rate than any invasive plant I have seen in Montana in the last 20 years,” stated Jane Mangold, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor at Montana State University.
“It is important for landowners to know what ventenata looks like and how to identify it in the field so they are able to catch any infestations when they are small and easier to manage,” said Jasmine Reimer, Statewide Noxious Weed Coordinator. “Local weed districts, extension services, and conservation districts are available to assist landowners with noxious weed identification and creating management plans.”
Ventenata, also called wiregrass, is an aggressive winter annual grass that can outcompete native vegetation and other invasive plants, including cheatgrass. It tends to occupy rights-of-way, rangeland, pastures, and agronomic fields where it can impact forage and crop production, wildlife habitat, and native plant diversity. Infestations have been confirmed in 19 Montana counties spanning from Lincoln County to Rosebud County. Sanders and Gallatin Counties had already declared it as a county listed noxious weed. Because infestation size and spread are largely unknown, listing ventenata as a Priority 2A noxious weed will allow counties to prioritize the species as needed. Economic impacts of ventenata in Montana are unknown at this time. Few control options currently exist and are estimated to cost between $26-$75 per acre. Ventenata is present in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and British Columbia. It was estimated in 2018 that Montana had 55,000 acres infested with ventenata. For more information on ventenata, read the MSU MontGuide, publication number MT201810AG.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.