Kneehill County ASB is pleased to announce the introduction of a new program offered to Kneehill County hay producers that will continue to protect our County from invasive species and provide a service in quality assurance of agricultural products.
Contaminated hay is one way that invasive plants are spread through the province, across the country, and around the world. As such, there is a growing demand for hay that has been inspected and certified as “weed-free”, especially for use in protected natural areas and parks.
To encourage the use of certified weed-free hay as a sound management practice and facilitate the development of this specialized product, Kneehill County Ag Services offers weed-free hay inspection and certification to forage producers.
Weed Free Forage Certification requires an inspector to conduct a site visit and certify fields or portions of fields as weed-free. Forage stands are inspected for listed weeds on both the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) International standard and the Alberta Weed Act. Some invasive species can be present, provided there are no plant propagules present that would enter the baled product. Inspections must be done within 10 days of cutting, after which a new inspection must be completed. The final baled product is then marked with either twine of a specialized colour or a special tag. The baled product must be stored and transported separately of non-certified forage in order for the product to maintain weed-free status. Inspections and certification are FREE, producers only have to purchase the specialized twine for marking the bales.
Contact Kneehill County Ag Services for questions, to schedule inspections, and for assistance in sourcing the specialized twine, at 403-443-5541.