Final Report for FNC04-532
First of all I would like to thank you for choosing my project for receiving a grant, I have wanted goats, to eat spurge, for 20 years. Without the grant it would not have happened.
I would say we had a successful year. We do have some room for improvement, and will keep learning every year that goes by.
After this we are going to kid out some in the fall, and others earlier in spring, to get them out and eating as soon as spurge starts growing. This winter we need to try and reduce our coyote population, they are our biggest problem. We also lost 2 small kids to raccoons. We bought 2 pyrennes puppies, (Nip and Tuck). When they mature, they should help. We purchased 2 Llama, and one donkey to keep coyotes away. The one Llama is doing OK, in with the mouflon ewes. The other 2 were not successful. Goats are penned at night; they come in on their own, usually. Miles, the Border collie, works very well for us when we need to move goats from place to place. We bought a 6 wheeler to help us get around in out hills and canyons.
My husband decided to expand my planned pen to include wilderness type creek land that we hadn’t been able to use before. Steel prices went up also, so our fencing cost went beyond my estimates.
We spent more time caring for goats that I had estimated, mostly due to rainy weather during kidding, and trying to keep fences goat proof.
We had a very dry last year, and then a very rainy spring this year, so our leafy spurge expanded a lot. My husband decided to I didn’t have enough goats and mouflan sheep to do the job so we bought more goats than I had planned. We will keep young does to increase out herd to a point where they can keep up, then start decreasing herd size when spurge begins to decline. The goats ate the spurge starting close to home and worked their way out. Mouflon rams stayed in the back of the pasture and ate spurge. We didn’t see them for weeks at a time, coyotes didn’t bother them.
If any one is interested in our operation, I invite you to stop in and we would be happy to show you around.
To control leafy spurge on a two-hundred acre tract and encourage others to do the same, the project will utilize sheep and goats, along with insect predators. Leafy spurge is a rapidly expanding problem on range lands in northwest Nebraska.