In a ranching operation, weeds can reduce forage quality and quantity and spread quickly if left unmanaged.

Range Management Extension Specialist Luke Jorgenson says weed management should have a year-round approach.

He says it all starts with taking the time to familiarize yourself with local hay and pasture weeds. 

"It's essential to be able to identify these weeds, especially during the fall. So producers should be able to recognize noxious weeds like Canada thistle, common tansy, leafy spurge, absence, and baby's breath."

He notes when dealing with problematic weeds it's important to manage infested areas separately, clean equipment post-harvest, and look at storing and monitoring weed-infested hay separately.

With the drought impacting a number of areas in the prairies, many livestock producers are once again looking at having to bring hay in from outside their own operation to feed animals.

In some cases that hay may be coming from within the general area, or another province.

Jorgenson says weeds can spread quickly and easily adding it's important to source hay carefully and try to avoid bringing in any weeds.

"It's essential to know your hay supplier and their weed management practices. So talk to them, ask them about what weeds they have, what they're doing to control them, and what might be showing up in the hay. You can also visually inspect the hay, which can sometimes reveal weeds."

He notes if producers are suspicious of weeds they should look at managing that hay and storage area separately.

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Luke Jorgenson click on the link below.