With all of the fire activity in California, we thought it would be timely to remind growers about a strong preference for “weed-free” straw for these erosion control markets. Many purchasers of straw for this market will be interested in knowing that they are buying straw that has been certified as weed-free.
This certification for rice straw basically refers to the absence of upland (non-aquatic) weeds because the straw applied for erosion control is generally used in upland situations where aquatic weeds are not usually a problem. This is one reason that certified weed-free rice straw is such a good choice for erosion control in wildland fire rehabilitation areas.
Certification is conducted by local agricultural commissioners and usually involves an inspection of the field before harvest. If you think you might want to bale straw for this market, please contact your local agricultural commissioner soon to inquire about their program and schedule an inspection.