Producers in Athabasca County are being asked to exercise extra caution this year if bringing in hay or straw from new suppliers.
Due to a dry season, producers may need to access new feed sources to help supplement what they have been able to provide for themselves. Invasive plant species are always looking for opportunities to hitch a free ride into new areas and they may just be in the feed you are purchasing.
Alberta Agriculture is advising extra caution if feed is being purchased from a new source and has issued the following statement:
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.
Green feed and straw are the most likely ways that invasive plant species and potentially rodents (such as rats) can find their way onto your land. According to Alberta Agriculture, feed and straw bales from 2014, or earlier, carry the greatest risk.
“Once they arrive by truck and are unloaded onto a property they become the responsibility of the land owner,” says Trent Keller, Athabasca County’s Farm Production Specialist. “We are just reminding producers to exercise a little more caution than usual due to the dry year we experienced.”
If you have questions or need to report an issue, you can call the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276) or call Athabasca County Agriculture Services Department at 780-675-2273.