The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 4, 2013

Producers can get hay bales certified weed-free


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Recent freezes throughout the state may have some Oklahoma wheat producers opting to bale their fields for hay.

The low temperatures that hit late in the season have damaged some of the wheat crop to the point cutting for hay can be a better option over grain harvest. Producers looking to bale their crop can pursue weed-free certification through Oklahoma’s certified weed-free forage and mulch program.

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has developed a certification process for forage and mulch products. Hay and grain fields can be inspected, and once a field passes this inspection, bales from the field can be labeled as “certified weed-free” and will be issued a transit certificate. The certified status can be listed on the ODAFF Hay Directory for prospective buyers. Details about the agency’s weed-free program are available at http://www. oda.state.ok.us/cps-weedfree.htm.

This year, ODAFF has been contacted by several pipeline construction contractors in search of a list of weed-free forage producers. State and federal agencies require certified weed-free mulch for highway, right-of-way, restoration and reclamation projects. These contractors intend to purchase as much local weed-free forage as possible — promising news for Oklahoma producers in need of a market for baled wheat.

Oklahoma’s certified weed-free forage and mulch program offers many advantages.

It provides an opportunity for Oklahoma producers to market certified forage and mulch as value-added products. The program helps meet the demand for products that comply with contract requirements and provides forage and mulch buyers a marketable and transportable product.

Weed-free certified does not mean a field is absolutely free of any weeds, but that it is free from the plant in any of the prohibited stages. According to the noxious weed standards, prohibited stages include bud, flowering, seeds or senescence.

For information about weed-free certification, contact Jeanetta Cooper, nursery program administrator, at (405) 522-5971 or by email at Jeanetta.Cooper@ag.ok.gov.