Weed-Free Forage | South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Weed-Free Forage

Bales of HayNorth American Weed Free Forage Certification

There is a growing demand in North America for the use of certified weed free forage and mulch as a preventative program in Integrated Weed Management Systems to limit the spread of noxious weeds. The goal of this program is to provide guidelines to set minimum requirements for uniform participation of provinces and states in the program.

The standards are designed

  1. To provide some assurance to all participants that forage certified through this program meets a minimum acceptable standard.
  2. To provide continuity between provinces and states in the program.
  3. To limit the spread of noxious weeds through forage and mulch.

Certifiable forage products include: straw, alfalfa/grass hay, forage pellets/cubes, alfalfa hay, grain hay and grass hay.

Get Certified

Weed Free Forage Producers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Weed Free Forage program provide?

  1. Supports uniform standards and policy.
  2. Certified forage for livestock, wildlife and vegetation projects.
  3. An opportunity to move forage freely in restricted areas, both intrastate and interstate.
  4. A producer list of available certified forage.

Where is certified forage required?
Certified public and provincial lands have areas that require North American weed free forage. Weed free forage is required on many U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, in National Parks, Bureau of Reclamation land, military locations, tribal lands as well as National Fish and Wildlife refuges. Restrictions may apply to other lands administered by provincial, county, state or federal agencies. Respective land managers must be contacted for the most current information.

How do I get my forage certified?
Contact the Department of Agriculture at least 1-2 weeks prior to cutting or harvesting. A Department representative must make an inspection in the field or origin prior to cutting or harvesting. Certification is based on a reasonable and prudent visual inspection of the field. A field includes surrounding ditches, fence rows, roads, right-of-ways or buffer zones surrounding the outside edge of a field. A certificate of inspection form is issued to the producer if the field meets the requirements of the weed free forage certification standards.

What if noxious weeds are present in the field?
Forage which contains North American designated noxious weeds may be certified if the following requirements are met:

  1. The field where the forage was produced has been treated to prevent seed formation or seed ripening and propagative parts of the plant are not capable of producing a new plant.
  2. Designated noxious weeds have been treated no later than rosette to bud stage (or boot stage for perennial grasses classified as weeds), prior to cutting or harvesting.

Can forage be certified in another state and allowed to move freely through interstate commerce?
Yes. A state’s authorized representative can certify forage in any state if it meets the North American Forage Certification Standards. Certified forage may or may not meet the forage quality standards adopted by the Hay Marketing Task Force of the American Forage and Grassland Council.

State/Province Program Contacts
Alberta, Canada 403.422.4909
British Columbia, Canada 604.556.3066
California 916.445.6214
Colorado 303.239.4142
Idaho 208.334.3521
Kansas 785.862.2180
Minnesota 612.625.7766
Montana 406.444.2944
Nebraska 402.471.2394
New Mexico 505.522.8775
Nevada 702.688.1180
North Dakota 701.328.2980
Oklahoma 405.521.3864
Oregon 503.986.4551
South Dakota 605.773.3796
Utah 801.538.7183
Washington 258.872.2972
Wyoming 307.777.6585

Designated Noxious Weed and Undesirable Plant Species List
Forage will be inspected in the field or origin. Fields will be inspected for the fifty-four (54) species listed below prior to cutting or harvesting.
Absinth wormword (Artemisia absinthium)
Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon)
Buffalobur (Solanum rostratum)
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Common burdock (Arctium minus)
Common crupina (Crupina vulgaris)
Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Dalmation toadflax (Linaria dalmatica)
Diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa)
Dyers woad (Isatis tinctoria)
Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
Hemp (Cannabis sativa)
Henbane, Black (Hyoscyamus niger)
Hoary cress (Cardaria spp.)
Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense)
Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale)
Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense)
Jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica)
Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)
Matgrass (Nardus stricta)
Meadow knapweed (Centaurea pratensis)
Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae)
Milium (Milium vernale)
Musk thistle (Carduus nutans)
Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)
Oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)
Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium)
Perennial sorghum (Sorghum almum)
Perennial sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis)
Plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides)
Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Quackgrass (Agropyron repens)
Rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea)
Russian knapweed (Centaurea repens)
Scentless chamomile (Anthemis arvensis)
Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium)
Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata)
Silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium)
Skeletonleaf bursage (Ambrosia tomentosa)
Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
Squarrose knapweed (Centaurea vigata)
St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum)
Sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)
Syrian beancaper (Zygophyllum fabago)
Tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
Toothed spurge (Euphorbia dentata)
Wild oats (Avena fatua)
Wild proso millet (Panicum miliaceum)
Yellow hawkweed (Hieracium pratense)
Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis)
Yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)