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Watch for weeds in hay-feeding sites

baleDakota Turley unwraps a bale of hay on his farm in Hartville, Mo. Experts caution producers to watch for problematic weeds that may invade pastures around hay-feeding sites. This fall and winter, keep an eye out for weeds that may have hitched a ride in hay, especially in bales transported from other states. Hay-feeding sites can create the perfect scenario for encroachment by opportunistic weeds that will show up in these areas come springtime.

The reasons are twofold, say range and pasture experts with Corteva Agriscience.
1. Areas with heavy hoof traffic, such as hay-feeding sites, open the ground for weeds to take root.
2. Weed seeds (they’re viable even after they’ve dried out) can linger in hay baled from fields that were not treated. Weed encroachment from hay is especially concerning following a drought year when hay inventories are being sourced from elsewhere and may bring along unfamiliar or invasive species.

Scouting pastures frequently and correctly identifying the weed early is the first step to treating it. If it’s a weed you haven’t seen before, check with your MFA agronomist or livestock specialist for help in identification. This is especially important with invasives that have found their way into new territories.
Although no one knows what Mother Nature has in store for next grazing season, proactively identifying pasture weeds can help you get the proper plan for control ready to use this spring. And by removing weedy competition early, you’re giving the grass a jump-start on production and preparing forages to better endure stress brought by weather.


CLICK HERE to read more from this November Today's Farmer Magazine.

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