The Montana Department of Agriculture has added a new target for those who fight noxious and invasive weeds.
Experts have identified Ventenata as one of the fastest spreading invasive plants in Montana in the past 20 years.
It’s also known as wiregrass and is usually found on rights-of-way, pasture, rangeland and other agricultural areas.
An estimated 55,000 acres across 19 Montana counties are infested with Ventenata.
The noxious weed working group for the state says wiregrass is considered priority 2A, meaning it’s common in isolated areas and needs to be destroyed or contained where it’s less abundant.
Scientists with Montana State University say the weed provides little forage opportunities for livestock and can take over pastures.
“So if our desirable forage is being displaced by this new annual grass that doesn’t have any forage value,” said Dr. Jane Mangold, with the MSU Extension Office in Bozeman. “That could really impact our livestock production in the state.”
Controlling wiregrass can cost up to $75 an acre
Ventenata is also found in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and British Columbia.