Weed-free hay is a priority for most producers, but when it comes to making hay for the premium horse market, a clean crop is essential.
"Our customers want clean hay that's 100 percent bermudagrass," said Joe Whitrock, an Okarche, Okla., grower. "Loyal customers are the lifeblood of my business. If I sell them hay with foreign matter, they won't come back."
The economic benefit of producing weed-free hay is clear. On his 500 acres of bermudagrass, Whitrock said effective foxtail control doubles his hay revenue.
"It's the difference between selling hay for $45 per ton versus $90 per ton for clean hay. I get a real return from investing in weed control."