Hay that is certified under the Alberta Certified Weed Free Hay Program is not guaranteed to be absolutely free of all weed species. Certification means that the field was inspected following minimum standards and found to be free of species regulated by the Alberta Weed Control Act and North American Weed Free Forage Certification Standards. There are 95 species that are designated under the Alberta Certified Weed Free Hay Program.
Certification does not guarantee a complete absence of weeds in the hay. Certification is only for species on the designated list and indicates that the inspector made a reasonable and prudent visual inspection of the field and did not find any of the 95 species on the designated weed list. A field may be certified if it contains weed species that are not on the designated weed list. Certification does not guarantee protein content, maturity or other quality factors of the hay.
For More Information on the Alberta Certified Weed Free Hay Program and designated weed list, please refer to the information below.
Alberta Certified Weed Free Hay Program
1. Introduction .
There is a growing demand within Alberta and across North America for hay that has been inspected and certified as weed free. The spread of weeds through hay has been well documented and the associated costs have increased demand for access to a weed free product. To meet this demand, rural municipalities and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development have developed a voluntary weed free hay inspection and certification program.
For more information, please check out the program brochure.
2. Program Objectives
3. What is “Certified Weed Free Hay” under this program?
- To provide a premium product that is recognized as marketable and transportable
- To prevent the spread of weeds and undesirable plant species
- To protect private and public lands from invasive plant species
- To increase awareness of the environmental impact of non-native, invasive plant species
Fields which are found to be free of viable seed or other reproductive parts of plants identified in the Weed List (attached) may be certified. The standards for certification are consistent with the “North American Weed Free Forage Certification Program” standards. It is possible that non-reproductive, or vegetative, parts of a plant on the attached Weed List may be present in fields certified as weed free.
4. Why purchase or produce Certified Weed Free Hay?
Weed free hay can:
5. How does the certification process work?
- Be a preferred product choice
- Bring a premium when sold
- Prevent weeds from spreading within the farm and between farms
- Prevent invasive species from becoming established in riparian and other environmentally sensitive areas
Fields must be inspected a maximum of 10 days prior to cutting. Inspections will be conducted on a field-by field basis. Certification is based on visual inspection by qualified personnel using a standard inspection procedure. A certificate of inspection is issued to the producer if the field meets the requirements. Further details on the field inspection process can be obtained from your local Agricultural Fieldman.
6. How do I get my field inspected/certified?
Contact your local municipality’s Agricultural Fieldman. They will inspect the field using the latest field inspection and certification form. If it passes inspection, they will issue a certificate and provide you with a source for specially marked twine.
7. Where is certified weed free hay desirable?
Use of certified weed free hay is a sound management practice anywhere in Alberta, benefitting both private and public lands. National Parks in Alberta may require that hay used within the parks be weed free. Provincial legislation may also regulate feedstuffs brought onto specified provincial lands and require the use of weed free hay.
8. How do I know I am purchasing certified weed free hay?
Certified weed free hay will be bound with a special coloured twine, or labeled with a specific tag, and a “Certificate of Inspection” will be issued to the producer to confirm the field meets inspection criteria.
9. How can I sell or purchase certified weed free hay?
Listings of hay for sale or purchase are available on the Alberta Hay and Pasture Directory on the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website. The listings for certified weed free hay will be designated with the following icon to differentiate them from other listings. You will also be able to selectively search for certified weed free hay in the directory. For more information on the program, contact your local Agricultural Fieldman or the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM.
10. Where can I go for more information on weeds, invasive plants, and their control?
Information on the Alberta Weed Control Act and Regulation is available on the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website, along with fact sheets on weed control options. Information on the impact invasive plants have on environmentally sensitive areas and what can be done to prevent their establishment can be found on the Alberta Invasive Plants Council website.
Designated Weed List and Undesirable Plant Species List
|Absinth Wormwood||Artemisia absinthium||Leafy Spurge||Euphorbia esula|
|Autumn Olive||Elaeagnus umbellata||Lens Podded Hoary Cress||Lepidium chalepense|
|Baby's Breath||Gypsophila paniculata||Lesser Burdock||Arctium minus|
|Bermudagrass||Cynodon dactylon||Marsh Thistle||Cirsium palustre|
| Bighead Knapweed||Centaurea macrocephala||Matgrass||Nardus stricta|
| Black Henbane||Hyoscyamus niger||Meadow Hawkweed||Hieracium caespitosum|
| Black Knapweed||Centaurea nigra||Meadow Knapweed||Centaurea x moncktonii|
| Blueweed||Echium vulgare||Medusahead||Taeniatherum caput-medusae|
|Broad Leaved Pepper Grass||Lepidium latifolium||Milium||Milium vernale|
| Brown Knapweed||Centaurea jacea||Mouse Ear Hawkweed||Hieracium pilosella|
|Buffalobur||Solanum rostratum|| Nodding Thistle||Carduus nutans|
|Canada Thistle||Cirsium arvense||Orange Hawkweed||Hieracium aurantiacum|
|Caraway||Carum carvi||Oxeye Daisy||Leucanthemum vulgare|
|Chinese Tamarisk||Tamarix chinensis||Pale Yellow Iris||Iris pseudacorus|
|Common Barberry||Berberis vulgaris||Perennial Sorghum||Sorghum almum|
|Common Buckthorn||Rhamnus cathartica|| Perennial Sowthistle||Sonchus arvensis|
|Common Crupina||Crupina vulgaris||Plumeless Thistle||Carduus acanthoides|
| Common Mullein||Verbascum thapsus||Poison Hemlock||Conium maculatum|
|Common St. John's Wort||Hypericum perforatum||Puncturevine||Tribulus terrestris|
|Common Tansy||Tanacetum vulgare||Purple Loosestrife||Lythrum salicaria|
|Creeping Bellflower||Campanula rapunculoides||Quackgrass||Agropyron repens|
|Dalmatian Toadflax||Linaria dalmatica||Red Bartsia||Odontites vernus|
|Dame's Rocket||Hesperis matronalis||Rush Skeletonweed||Chondrilla juncea|
|Diffuse Knapweed||Centaurea diffusa||Russian Knapweed||Rhaponticum repens|
|Downy Brome||Bromus tectorum|| Saltcedar||Tamarix ramosissima|
|Dyer's Woad||Isatis tinctoria||Saltlover||Halogeton glomeratus|
|Eurasian Water Milfoil||Myriophyllum spicatum|| Scentless Chamomile||Tripleurospermum inodorum|
|Field Bindweed||Convolvulus arvensis||Scotch Thistle||Onopordum acanthium|
|Field Scabious||Knautia arvensis||Sericia Lespedeza||Lespedeza cuneata|
|Flowering Rush||Butomus umbellatus||Silverleaf Nightshade||Solanum elaeagnifolium|
|Garlic Mustard||Alliaria petiolata||Skeletonleaf Bursage||Ambrosia tomentosa|
|Giant Hogweed||Heracleum mantegazzianum|| Smallflower Tamarisk||Tamarix parviflora|
|Giant Knotweed||Fallopia sachalinensis||Spotted Knapweed||Centaurea stoebe|
|Gobe Podded Hoary Cress||Lepidium appelianum||Squarrose Knapweed||Centaurea virgata|
|Greater Burdock||Arctium lappa||Sulphur Cinquefoil||Potentilla recta|
|Heart Podded Hoary Cress||Lepidium draba||Syrian Beancaper||Zygophyllum fabago|
|Hemp (marijuana)||Cannabis sativa||Tall Buttercup||Ranunculus acris|
|Himalayan Balsam||Impatiens glandulifera||Tansy Ragwort||Jacobaea vulgaris|
|Hoary Alyssum||Berteroa incana|| Toothed Spurge||Euphorbia dentata|
|Horsenettle||Solanum carolinense|| Tyrol knapweed||Centaurea nigrescens|
|Hound's Tongue||Cynoglossum officinale||White Cockle||Silene latifolia|
|Hybrid Japanese knotweed||Fallopia x bohemica||Wild Oats||Avena fatua|
|Hybrid Knapweed||Centaurea x psammogena||Wild Proso Millet||Panicum miliaceum|
|Japanese Brome||Bromus japonicus||Woolly Burdock||Arctium tomentosum|
|Japanese Knotweed||Fallopia japonica||Yellow Clematis||Clematis tangutica|
|Johnsongrass||Sorghum halepense||Yellow Nutsedge||Cyperus esculentus|
| Jointed Goatgrass||Aegilops cylindrica||Yellow Starthistle||Centaurea solstitialis|
|Yellow Toadflax||Linaria vulgaris || |