ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

Will mowing eradicate ragweed?

Posted October 12, 2006

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Click here to send it to Jeff.

Dear Jeff,

Will mowing help get rid of ragweed in my pastures?

Tom Fleming

Dear Tom,

Thanks for the email and the good question on ragweed in pastures. Many weeds are tough to control in pastures; ragweed is certainly one of them. Mowing will help manage it, but it won't completely get rid of it. The trick with any pasture-management plan in an organic system is to make sure your soil is in good condition, well balanced in nutrition and has a decent pH. Then be sure you have a good stand of grass or pasture mix and don't over or under graze it. What you should hope to do is give the pasture grass the best possible chance and the weeds the worst. With good soil, a nice seeding of grass, and proper grazing, the weeds will fade into the background. They'll still be around but shouldn't be a problem. If you can't graze it down, then mowing will surely help.