Developing a Handbook for Utilizing Livestock as a Tool in Noxious Weed Control in Nine Western States

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $90,133.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $39,953.00
Region: Western
State: Nevada
Principal Investigator:
Jason Davison
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bovine, goats, sheep


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing - continuous, grazing - multispecies, range improvement
  • Education and Training: extension, focus group, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
  • Pest Management: biological control, eradication, physical control, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, community services, employment opportunities

    Proposal abstract:

    University of Nevada Cooperative Extension specialists, collaborating with a University of Idaho range scientist, propose to assemble, summarize, and distribute “state-of-the-art” knowledge concerning livestock grazing as a noxious weed control tool in the western United States. As a result of this project, Cooperative Extension (CE) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel will be better able to prescribe livestock grazing as a noxious weed control option to constituents. The environmental and economic costs of noxious weed invasions have been well documented. In many parts of the western United States effective noxious weed control is considered one of the most important environmental and agricultural needs. Unfortunately, use of the available control methods, such as herbicides and controlled burning, is becoming more restricted. Consequently, weed managers are in need of additional control methods. Researchers and practitioners have known for some time that livestock grazing can be used as a highly effective management tool to selectively control noxious weeds. This knowledge, however, has not been summarized into a useful format and shared with other interested parties. As a result, the adoption of livestock grazing as a noxious weed control method has been slow.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives for this project are to: 1) develop a list of noxious weed species for California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, and Utah, 2) collect, review, and summarize current knowledge about livestock grazing as a control method for each noxious weed species, 3) present this information in a handbook and distribute to CE, NRCS, and others, and 4) evaluate program impact.
    The project objectives will be accomplished by using the following methods: 1) an in-depth literature review, interviews with researchers, and an survey of grazing management practitioners will be used to generate the knowledge base regarding livestock grazing as a control agent for specific noxious weeds, 2) the information will be presented in a handbook (in binder and CD formats) and will consist of color photos and text describing the effectiveness of grazing as a control method for each noxious weed species, 3) 1,500 handbooks will be produced and distributed to every CE and NRCS office in the targeted states, plus additional copies will be provided to other entities, 4) an interactive website will be created featuring the handbook and other related information, 5) the project will be presented at appropriate weed management conferences in all nine states and at three national meetings, and 6) a synthesis, science-based paper will be published in a peer reviewed journal. Evaluation of the project’s impact will consist of two telephone surveys involving the recipients of the handbook, number of hits on the project website, and information requests.
    Expected outcomes of this project include: 1) CE, NRCS, and other personnel will be more aware and knowledgeable, 2) livestock grazing as a noxious weed control tool will become more effective and widespread, and 3) this project will become the focal point for communication, information, and collaboration on this topic.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.