Wild Parsnip has been a common sight on social media with many people posting about recent run-ins with the noxious weed.
Humboldt RM Reeve Larry Ries says they have had wild parsnip for years with four small areas of the RM being trouble spots.
“The sap in the stem, leaves and flowers increases skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light which can result in severe, painful second-degree chemical burns, blisters, rashes and dermatitis. The plant’s chemicals can also reduce weight gain and fertility in livestock that eat it,” according to the Saskatchewan invasive Species Council fact sheet.
Only a few chemicals will help destroy it, including round up, Ries says, even though it takes some time for the chemical to take effect.
The RM has elected to mow it, which can be a two-year process, says Ries. RM mowers will be out in the next couple days to take care of some patches before they go to seed.
“It’s not something to play with (and) if you have it around your farm or acreage, it’s something you need to be aware of,” says Ries.
While the Invasive Species council states that wild parsnip should not be considered a forage option, Ries says he has been told by members of agricultural organizations that it would take a lot before wild parsnip would actually harm cattle. In many cases, Ries has seen cattle decide not to graze on the weed.
The Humboldt RM is part of the invasive weed program where staff will go out and cut all invasive weeds before going to seed, including Wild Parsnip.
Anyone coming into contact with wild parsnip is encouraged to wear long pants, closed shoes, and gloves when handling it.
There are some similar weeds that are often confused for wild parsnip, says Ries, including baby’s breath, or wild and tame dill.