Custom Hay Balers, Take Note
Bruce Paulsrud, Extension Specialist, Urbana, 217-244- 9646,
There has been some confusion regarding the classification of
propionic acid used during hay baling. The confusion stems from
the fact that formulations of propionic acid are sold for use
in hay, yet they do not come with a recognizable pesticide label.
As a result, the US–EPA has reiterated to the manufacturers
that propionic acid is a pesticide and must be labeled as such
when it is being used for pesticidal purposes. One such use is
the application of the acid during hay baling, because the product
acts as a preservative by inhibiting rot organisms.
Propionic acid is not a restricted-use pesticide, so farmers
applying it as a hay preservative for their own use do not need
to be licensed. However, a custom/for-hire hay baler using the
acid must be licensed as a commercial applicator in the field
crops category. Commercial applicators must pay a $45 annual license
fee and provide a certificate of insurance.
Contact your local University of Illinois Extension office to
obtain study materials to help you prepare for the general standards
and field crops exams. You may make an appointment with the Illinois
Department of Agriculture to take the examinations anytime during
the year by calling (217) 785-2427 for the Springfield office
or (847) 294-4343 for the Des Plaines office. Optional training
sessions in conjunction with testing are provided during the winter,
and your Extension office can provide you with further details.