Invasive weed seeds and root fragments can be moved in hay and straw used for animal feed and bedding or in erosion control materials. Seeds can also be transferred in animal manure. These seeds and plant parts can colonize uninfested areas causing damage to wildlife habitat, endangered and threatened species, watershed health, agriculture and recreational opportunities.
To prevent the spread of invasive plants, County Agricultural Commissioners and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) offer inspection services to certify materials as weed free. Weed Free Forage is defined as hay, feed, straw or straw mulch that has been inspected, and certified not to contain propagative plant parts or seeds found on the California noxious weed list, as listed in the California Code of Regulations, Title 3, Division 4, Chapter 6, Section 4500.
The term “weed free” implies it is a perfect product. It is important to know the limitations of this product. The inspection process cannot reduce the risk to zero nor are these materials inspected for invasive weeds not listed on the CDFA noxious weed list. See this 2-page briefing for a concise description of the certification and posting process, as well as links to source information. Here is a table of the species your Agricultural Commissioner will survey for to meet NAISMA standards. Please note: Inspectors will survey for the species on each of the 3 tabs in this table.
Weed-Free Forage and Straw Availability in California
Here is California’s Weed Free Forage Providers List. It is organized by county and includes certified hay and straw vendors in the first table (updated in October, 2016) and pellet vendors in the second table (updated in September, 2015).
We now have maps of these weed free forage outlets! See:
- All providers (hay, straw and pellets) map
- Hay and Straw providers map
- All providers maps by county.
This is a 15MB, 42-page book of maps. Each provider’s name, phone number, address, and what they sell is listed by county. Counties that have no providers are not included in the map series (Del Norte, Imperial, Kings, Lassen, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Orange, Plumas, Riverside, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Siskiyou, Trinity, Tulare, and Ventura). We suggest you download the series but print only the pages that you need to navigate to your nearest WFF producer.
Yellow starthistle growing out of a strawbale.
- If you need a large amount of material for the coming year, contact vendors early in the growing season to make sure sufficient weed free forage/straw will be certified and available for your project needs.
- Ask your vendor for a proof of certification, in the form of a copy of CDFA Form 66-079 “Certificate of Quarantine Compliance (CQC)” associated with the inspection of the specific forage/straw materials. This is the legal document verifying that the materials have been inspected and certified.
If you are seeking certification for weed free hay and straw please contact your local County Agriculture Commissioner’s office to arrange inspection and certification. Contact information by county is available at: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/exec/county/countymap/
- CDFA Weed-free forage inspection procedures
- State of Nevada-Weed Free Forage Producers list
- North American Invasive Species Management Association
- Federal Noxious Weeds list
For more information, contact Cal-IPC.