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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Horse Owners, Hay Producers & Gardeners Be Aware of Herbicide Residue

By Celestine Duncan, Weed Management Services, Helena, MT

 

June 2012 issue

 

      Do you raise, sell, or purchase hay for your horses, or do you treat noxious weeds on your horse pasture with herbicides? If so, there are some important guidelines you need to follow to be sure you handle livestock hay, bedding and waste appropriately.

      Noxious and invasive weeds cause serious problems on rangeland and pastures in Montana. Products such as Milestone® and Tordon® 22K herbicides are effective tools for controlling these weeds and help protect Montana ’s agricultural industry and the biological diversity of wildlands.

      When noxious weeds are treated with these or many other residual herbicides, forage from the herbicide-treated pasture may be safely grazed by horses and other livestock. These herbicides pass through the animal’s digestive tract unchanged and are excreted in urine and manure.

      However, there is a risk of herbicide damage to certain broadleaf vegetables, flowers or other sensitive crops if substances such as manure, or hay used for bedding or mulch, or composted materials (e.g. manure and hay) containing herbicide residues are applied to fields or gardens.

 

      If you buy hay for your animals, ask the hay producer or seller which herbicides, if any, were used in producing the grass hay. Obtain a copy of the herbicide label from the farmer or online (at www.cdms.net/LabelsMsds/LMDefault.aspx), and follow the Use Precautions and Restrictions section.

      If you do not know the herbicide history of the hay, do not sell or give away the manure from animals that consumed the hay for use in growing plants or to make compost. Depending on the herbicide used, it takes three to seven days feeding on non-treated forage for most animals’ digestive tracts to produce manure clear of any herbicide residue. Manure that contains herbicide residues can be safely spread on grass pastures, grass hayfields, rangeland, fields rotated to corn or wheat, or grass grown for seed.

 

      Hay producers should maintain a written record of herbicides applied to fields. If you are selling hay from herbicide-treated hayfields, you must inform purchasers of the herbicide label use precautions so that the purchaser understands how to utilize their livestock manure and bedding in a manner that keeps it from damaging gardens and other sensitive plants such as ornamentals.

 

      What can you do to ensure the manure, mulch, or compost is safe to use in your garden? One of the most important things you can do is conduct a simple, inexpensive, bioassay with beans (follow the procedure described online at www.manurematters.com/na/en/bioassay) to determine if herbicide residues are present in the manure, compost, or hay used for bedding. 

 

Manure herbicide residue bioassay test with beans.

 

      If you find yourself with a small quantity of herbicide-contaminated manure, grass clippings, hay or compost, spread it on a grass pasture or rangeland, or grass hayfield or arrange to have it disposed of properly.

      Remember, it is important to read and follow herbicide labels. Additional information and guidelines for managing herbicide carryover in manure, hay and other products is available online at www.pesticides.montana.edu or aminopyralidstewardshipinstructions.com.html or contact your local County Extension agent to develop a manure management plan.

 

®Milestone and Tordon 22K are trademarks of Dow AgroSciences LLC.

 

Tordon 22K is a federally Restricted Use Pesticide.

 

Always read and follow label directions.

 

Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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