Hay is an important crop for livestock producers, and should be treated the same as any other crop when it comes to weed control. Weedy hay results in decreased yields, short-lived stands and potential harmful effects to livestock.
Weeds in forages compete for nutrients, light moisture and space. They reduce the quality of forage, and intake may be influenced. In a pasture setting, cattle often eat both desirable and undesirable species, and can possibly ingest harmful or injurious portions of plants. Some weeds are toxic when dried with hay, and although cattle can usually sort out weeds in straight dry hay, weeds contained in large bales that are chopped and mixed with a ration are nearly impossible to sort. Continue reading