Controlling Weeds Around Livestock Barns

By Danny McDonald, Ph.D |

Weeds provide harborage and/or food sources for rodents, snakes and insects.
Weeds are simply undesirable plants in a certain situation. Around agricultural facilities, any plants growing close to the barn could be considered a weed. These plants provide harborage and/or food sources for rodents, snakes and insects. Weeds prevent insecticides applied
to the exterior of the barn from contacting the soil and side walls and, therefore, waste much of their application. Proper weed management can also reduce labor costs from mowing and increase speed of, or even eliminate, weed trimming.

Sanitation is an important aspect of rodent and insect integrated pest management. This includes the removal of harborage and food sources. Weeds can serve both of these purposes and, therefore, it is suggested that weeds and brush be kept to 3 inches or less to minimize these unnecessary bedding, nesting and food resources for pests.

Herbicides (chemical weed killers) provide an effective and economical means of weed control. Herbicides can selective when they are used to kill weeds while keeping desirable plants unharmed or nonselective when they are used to kill all vegetation. Both can be formulated as contact or translocated herbicides and as foliar sprays or granules that prevent weeds from germinating. Herbicides should be applied within at least one foot from the foundation of agricultural facilities, but should not be applied past the drip line of the roof to prevent erosion.

About the Author

Danny McDonald, Ph.D

Entomologist
MWI Animal Health
Dr. McDonald is a member of MWI's Technical Services groups. As a team, this group provides our clients with targeted expertise in integrated pest management, proactive disease/pathogen and performance management, animal drinking water quality improvement, biosecurity, and cleaning and disinfection. 
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