Pictured: Red Barista, Alberta Invasive Species Council
Kneehill County Urges Livestock Producers to Beware of Infested Hay
Variable precipitation across Kneehill County and Alberta this growing season has resulted in the underperformance of hay and pasture land for many livestock producers. This lack of feed is forcing ranchers to look at other options for sustaining their herd, including supplementing their livestock with hay or other feed options. As the situation has affected most of Alberta, finding hay locally can be a difficult and expensive endeavor, with some paying as much as $180-200 per ton for quality hay. This has forced some producers to look farther away from home, even as far away as Saskatchewan & Manitoba for cheaper, better quality feed sources. While this is a viable option with perceived economic savings, this could come with some unforeseen consequences. The unfortunate fact is: hay from other areas can be contaminated with Prohibited Noxious & Noxious weeds regulated under the Alberta Weed Control Act.
Different areas across the prairies experience different infestations of invasive plants. The Alberta Weed Act exists to reduce the risk these infestations pose to producers through education and control. Imported hay can contain Prohibited Noxious Weeds such as Knapweeds, Red Bartsia, and, Hawkweeds or Noxious Weeds such as Leafy Spurge, Burdocks, or Scentless Chamomile as well as others. Weeds such as these can spread rapidly and be difficult to control once established due to their competitive nature.
When purchasing hay it is strongly advised to seek out weed-free certified hay or hay that is known to be free of regulated weeds. Be aware of the problem plant species for your source area and closely monitor stockpile yards and feeding spaces for the appearance of regulated weed species. If you find that you have regulated weeds or suspect that there may be some in the hay you have purchased, please contact Kneehill County Agriculture Services so they can assist in identification and control strategies,
Pictured: Leafy Spurge, Agriculture Canada
ASB Roadside Invasive Weed Control
Invasive weed control remains an Agricultural Service Board priority. During the 2018 season, Kneehill County Agriculture Services staff will continue the roadside invasive weed control program by covering all roadsides between Township Road 30-2 and Township Road 32-4. The two Agriculture Services spray units will be applying a residual herbicide and have been instructed to leave a one-meter buffer strip between the road allowance and the adjacent landowners’ property. As per policy, all roadside spraying will stop 30 meters upon approaching a farmstead or residence, where buildings and trees are within 30 meters of the road allowance and will continue 30 meters past the farmstead or residence. These buffer areas are the responsibility of the adjacent landowner.
In instances where invasive weed species are present in buffer areas, Kneehill County Agriculture Services offers consultations and control solutions to Kneehill County landowners including FREE reverse fenceline spraying. In this program, staff will spray from the field side back into the ditch utilizing the Kubota spray unit to control weeds left in the buffer zone. Residents wishing to participate in this or any other Agriculture Services programs can contact the Kneehill County office at 403-443-5541.
Private Land Weed Control
Agricultural producers within Kneehill County can receive assistance in controlling noxious weeds. On a cost recovery basis, the ASB will assist producers with controlling small patches of select noxious weeds to a maximum of one acre in crop and two acres in non-crop areas. The ASB will supply manpower, equipment, and herbicides.
Urban Weed Inspection
In accordance with the Alberta Weed Act, Kneehill County has appointed inspectors to assist the public in identifying and controlling regulated species. Twice during the growing season inspectors will visit all urban municipalities within Kneehill County to scout for invasive species, let homeowners know about the plants and aid in determining the best control methods.
Weed Inspection and Enforcement Policy
Weeds in Kneehill County
Weeds that are of particular concern within Kneehill County include:
- Baby's Breath
- Black Henbane
- Canada Thistle
- Common Burdock
- Common Mullein
- Common Tansey
- Dames Rockets
- Leafy Spurge
- Scentless Chamomile
- White Cockle
- Yellow Clematis
- Yellow Toadflax
The Noxious weeds listed above are highlighted because of their aggressive nature within Kneehill County which may financially impact private, crop, or pasture landowners. In an effort to keep these plants from spreading further Kneehill County Agricultural Service Board Office (ASB) would appreciate help from the public in regards to information on infestation locations as well as with control of these species on their lands.