Jointed goatgrass

Jointed goatgrass

The issue: Jointed goatgrass

Jointed Goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica), a winter annual, native to western Europe and southern Asia. It was most likely introduced into the United States as a contaminate in winter wheat seed. This grass species is closely related to wheat, when young it is difficult to distinguish between the two. Jointed Goatgrass easily invades cereal grain cropping systems, especially when crop rotation options are limited.

Jointed Goatgrass leaves are up to ½” wide, up to 6” long, and have fine hairs evenly spaced along the edges. Seeds are produced on cylindrical spikes that are tapered towards the top. It gets its name from the “jointed” appearance of the spike. Jointed Goatgrass is a major contaminate of wheat, the seeds are about the same size and weight making them difficult to separate.

Integrated pest management options:

· Prevention: Learn to identify this plant. Never transport unknown plant material. Always plant clean seed!

· Mechanical: A moldboard plow can effectively bury seeds, but it can also bring other seeds to the surface. Mowing roadsides and no-crop areas before seed is produced can limit seed production.

· Cultural: Incorporating a broadleaf crop in the crop rotation is an effective way to reduce the Jointed Goatgrass population.

· Biological: None.

· Chemical: Glyphosate and other non-selective herbicides can be used during fallow years or after harvest. Once wheat has emerged there are not a lot of options unless a Clearfield variety has been planted. Clearfield varieties are resistant to the herbicide Imazamox (Beyond), allowing Jointed Goatgrass to be sprayed without harming the crop. Always read and follow herbicide label directions.

Justin Hatch, University of Idaho Extension agriculture educator in Caribou County, can be reached at 208-547-3205 or

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