Duane Lammers of Rapid City, SD received a SARE to determine if spraying unwanted plants with molasses would be an efficient, safe and effective way of eliminating the undesired vegetation. Managing weeds has become a big concern on many levels, as the numbers of weeds continue to increase and compete with the grasses lowering their productivity. The purpose of this grant is to determine the effectiveness of the molasses and also to identify the proper time and amount of molasses to apply as well as the cost of application per acre.
This project consisted of spraying Russian thistle with two different methods. One included spraying the molasses with the movement of animals to the area to create heavy animal impact and spraying without the involvement of animals.
The Buffalo that were moved to the sprayed area grazed the plants heavily, but they found a considerable return in the weeds as the season went on. The areas that were merely sprayed with the molasses seemed to have just a slight reduction in the amount of weeds grown in that area.
Duane found the costs of this project to be rather high for the small vicinity, but continues to monitor the area. Most of the five acres have been left alone and brushy plants have moved into the area. They anticipate that these plants will continue to compete and eventually drive out the thistle as they have in previous sites.