Quality Hay or a Family of Rats — What’s Your Farm Acquiring?

The Ag-Info Centre’s Barry Yaremcio joins Debra Murphy to talk about some of the things to monitor when accepting and feeding an out-of-area shipment of hay.

It’s been a difficult year for Alberta farmers. Dry conditions throughout the growing season led many who typically have enough feed, to buy elsewhere. Others received generous donations. And, though it’s certainly heart-warming to see farmers work together in difficult times, there are a few things to watch for in the days, months and years ahead of feeding someone else’s hay, whether it’s from a nearby county or an entirely different province.

  1. Plants – Besides keeping an eye out for new, invasive and noxious weeds, also watch for poisonous plants, as more people are baling sloughs and ditches this year. Consider feeding in a confined area, so any pest problems are relatively contained.
  2. Insects and plant disease – Whether a new pest to the farm, or one with potentially fatal mycotoxins, it’s important to know what you could be introducing to the farm.
  3. Animals – It may be hard to believe, but even animals can hitch rides with hay. And, although you may not be too surprised to see a deer mouse or two, how would you like a family of rats?
  4. Pesticides – Talk to the supplier about whether or not the harvested feed was sprayed. Was the time between spray application and harvest sufficient? Did it meet the pre-harvest interval on the label?

A message from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry:

If you are getting feed from new sources, including those outside Alberta, watch for agricultural pests including plants, animals, insects and plant diseases. It’s also a good idea to monitor feeding sites for the possibility of weed/pest activity into future years, as a precaution. If you have questions or need to report an issue, you can call the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).

Some important numbers:
Alberta Ag-Info Centre – 310-FARM (3276)
Alberta Rat Hotline
– 310-RATS (7287)
Ordering CowBytes – 1-800-292-5697

Related Posts:
From Field to Feed: Understanding Ergot
Beef Research School: Using a Feed Test to Maximize Profits & Avoid Pitfalls
5 Steps to High Quality Hay
Hay to Roll East 10 Years Later (2012)


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