Invasive Species Found in Hay - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Invasive Species Found in Hay

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While the state of Montana continues to fight wildfires and deal with severe drought, a new threat has popped up. Invasive weeds and species have been detected in donated hay. The Montana Department of Agriculture released the information today on noxious and invasive species.
According to Dave Burch with the agriculture department, some landowners never really know where the hay they are getting is actually coming from. Burch tells landowners to be very vigilant with the hay they receive.
The best management practices for the species is monitoring new weed species, documenting where new species are located and follow that up with weed control.
Landowners should try to store hay in one spot and feed the hay close to that same spot.

"The more spots you take that hay to, the more chances of different weed infestations starting up in each location," Dave Burch told KULR-8.

Weeds and invasive plants can be poisonous to animals, like horses and cattle.

"Yellow star thistle causes chewing disease in horses. They eat the spikes and the spines have a toxin in them that causes the chewing disease in horses," according to Burch.

There is help for landowners. Burch says county weed coordinators, extension services and conservation districts can help landowners identify invasive species and weeds.

Burch said, "If a landowner sees something that's growing that doesn't look like he had it before or it looks a little different, they need to make sure they contact those people so we can come out and take a look and get those plants Id'd."

Those coordinators and services can help landowners develop a management plan if an invasive species is found in their hay.

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