The Easter freeze that damaged much of Kentucky's wheat crop made it unsuitable for grain, but a recently approved crisis exemption allows producers to salvage it as forage feed for livestock this month.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Division of Environmental Services has approved the crisis exemption for wheat that had been treated with Harmony or Express. Current federal label restrictions for Harmony Extra, Harmony GT, and Express prohibit grazing or feeding forage or hay; however, the special exemption allows Kentucky growers to use the wheat for grazing, hay or haylage. However, the wheat must be either grazed or harvested between May 7 and 22.
"These products are commonly used to control weeds in Kentucky's wheat fields and had already been applied when the freeze damaged the crop last month," said Jim Martin, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture extension weeds specialist. "This will be helpful for farmers who can utilize the crop for forage instead of simply destroying it."
In addition to wheat damage, the freezing temperatures also limited the amount of forage available for the first cutting in hayfields and for grazing. This left many livestock producers searching for an alternative feedstuff for their animals. The crisis exemption will help put the damaged wheat to use and help alleviate some of the forage shortage.