Giant ragweed wins ‘Biggest Weed’ contest

wftd-biggest-weed-2014In a surprise showing at this year’s ‘Biggest Weed’ contest held during Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, a giant ragweed was named grand champion.

A total of nine weeds were included in the just-for-fun contest, which was hosted by University of Wisconsin-Extension weed experts providing weed identification services during the three-day agricultural show. Of the samples, four were annuals, four were biennials, and one was a perennial plant.

Typically the biennial and perennial plants take the prize, notes Mark Renz, a weed specialist with UW-Madison and UW-Extension. But this year Wayne Greeler from Neillsville, Wisconsin brought in a specimen of giant ragweed – an annual plant – that was over 10 feet tall and seven feet wide.

“It is uncommon for a giant ragweed to get this wide,” says Renz. “The extra girth allowed it to take the grand prize.”

For more information about identifying and controlling weeds in your field or yard, contact your local county Extension agent or visit the University of Wisconsin Weed Science website at