Roadside hay harvesting begins

MANLY, Iowa - Iowa roadsides will be busy with activity from here on out as Tuesday marked the kickoff of the hay harvesting season.

Landowners were asked to hold off on mowing until July 15th, so that the ditches could be used as miniature prairie lands for nesting grassland birds.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) are reminding folks to have the proper paperwork before heading out to harvest, something Pete Hjelmsted, a field services coordinator with the DOT says will help keep people safe.

“The permit itself does outline several different safety aspects that we want people to do, as far as where they can work, wearing the fluorescent green vest that they can pick up at the DOT maintenance shop if they need it and just things along those lines,” he explains.

While it might be tempting to get out there and make the edges of your land look a little nicer, Hjelmsted tells us that waiting until later in the season is important for the quality of the hay and the livelihood of the wildlife.

Officials also want to remind landowners that only one roadside cutting is allowed per year and that all mowing should cease after Sept. 1st.

For folks in Minnesota, they’re asking landowners to hold off on mowing until Aug 1st.

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