Producers can once again take advantage of free hay in Saskatchewan’s provincial highway ditches.
Hay can be salvaged any time during the spring or summer months. Before and including July 8, landowners or lessees nearest/adjacent to the ditch have the first option to cut or bale material, but after that day anyone can cut and bale without permission from the property-owner, as long as no salvage operations have already begun. It is recommended that participants contact their local ministry office to provide contact information and limits on where they are salvaging hay to avoid disputes.
Hay must be cut at a uniform height in ditches and bales must be placed at least eight metres away from the shoulder of the highway. Bales must be removed by August 8, otherwise they may be subject to removal and disposal by the ministry. After August 8, bales must be removed immediately following haying operations. The ministry may also remove and dispose of hay bales in locations deemed unsafe for drivers.
The ministry is working on its annual early mowing program along high traffic volume highways, which begins June 7 and will continue until July 15. Contractors cut a four-metre wide swath along shoulders adjacent to Highways 1, 7, 11, 16 and 39, along with portions of Highways 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10. During this time, mowing may be completed near some highway intersections and interchanges, railway crossings and tourism facilities.
Regular ditch mowing will occur along all four-lane highways between July 15 and the fall months. A four-metre-wide strip will be mowed adjacent to the other highways with additional mowing as required to ensure visibility and weed control. Progress is weather dependent.
June 7 – July 15: Mowing includes a four-metre shoulder cut adjacent to the road. Highways 1, 7, 11, 16 and 39, along with portions of Highways 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10. Some highway intersections may receive a full ditch cut to ensure good sightlines.
July 8: Prior to and including this date, a landowner or lessee nearest to a highway ditch has the first option to cut or bale hay. After this date, anyone may cut and bale hay or grass in a highway ditch without getting the permission of the adjacent landowner.
July 15 – Oct. 15: Contractors begin mowing the width of ditches along all four-lane highways. All other highways get a four-metre cut adjacent to the highway shoulder.
August 8: all hay bales must be removed from ditches or they may be removed and disposed of at the ministry’s discretion.