- Author: Wendy West
The most effective, economical, and ecologically sound method of managing invasive plants is to prevent their invasion in the first place. Resources can be spent most efficiently on proactive activities that focus on stopping the movement of plant seeds and other reproductive parts to new areas.
Seeds can also be transferred in animal manure if the animal has recently ingested invasive plants in infested feed or while grazing. These seeds and plant parts can then reproduce and colonize a previously uninfested area --- and if left unchecked, cause damage to wildlife habitat, endangered and threatened species, watershed health, agriculture and recreational opportunities.
Certified weed free forage is produced and available for sale in California. County Agricultural Commissioners, in conjunction with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), offer inspection services to certify weed free forage materials, which are defined as “hay, feed, straw or straw mulch that has been inspected, and certified not to contain propagative plant parts or seeds of noxious weeds”.
The inspections are completed for species listed on the CDFA noxious weeds list. The inspection and certification of hay and straw products maximizes the probability that invasive plant seeds/parts are not present and that the materials are weed free. An inspection processes cannot reduce the risk to zero, nor are these materials inspected for invasive weeds not listed on the California noxious weed list.
A list of vendors with certified weed free forage materials for sale is available at:
CDFA/Interior Pest Exclusion: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/pe/InteriorExclusion
California Invasive Plant Council: http://www.cal-ipc.org/ip/prevention/index.php
- Land managers needing a large amount of material for the coming year, should contact vendors early in the growing season to make sure sufficient weed free forage/straw will be certified and available for project needs.
- Proof of certification, in the form of a copy of CDFA Form 66-079 “Certificate of Quarantine Compliance (CQC)” associated with the inspection of the specific forage/straw materials, is the legal documentation verifying that the materials have been inspected.
- Producers seeking weed free certification for hay and straw products should contact your local County Agriculture Commissioner’s office to arrange inspection and certification. Contact information is available at: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/exec/county/county_contacts.html
- Weed-free forage inspection procedures “126.96.36.199 Inspection of Forage: Growing, Bales or Other Products for Noxious Weeds” (Section 4-39) are available at: http://phpps.cdfa.ca.gov/PE/INTERIOREXCLUSION/CPTM/pdf/Section4.pdf