2005 Annual Report for FNC05-560
Using Meat Goats to Control Sericea Lespedeza
On my first test pasture of 40 acres of pasture land I was able to complete the eight strand barbed wire fence. This has been a very dry year and the water supply dried up and I had to get a water tank to haul water to the goats in this pasture.
On my second test pasture of 8 acres of wooded creek and pasture land I completed two sides of eight strand barbed wire. It was getting late in the year so I enclosed the other two sides with 5 strands of electric wire powered by a 12 volt solar fence charger. This pasture does not have a water supply so water was hauled in.
On the 40 acre field I plan on continuing to monitor the sericea growth and adjust stocking rates accordingly.
On the 8 acre field I plan on getting the goats in early this spring as the sericea begins to grow and also monitor it's growth and stocking rates. The field also requires more maintenance because of the electric fence.
On the 40 acre field this is the second year I have had goats on it. For the entire Summer and Fall I was unable to find any sericea over 1 inch tall. In some areas were the sericea was not as thick I could find no evidence of any growing and I am hoping the goats have killed it out. I was also planning on building a seven strand fence, but this was not sufficient enough to keep the goats in. Where there was an existing five strand fence I added two wires below the bottom wire and one above it.
On the 8 acre field I was late in turning the goats in because of the time building fence. Two sides had a three strand electric fence which worked excellent for keeping the goats in. The goats were finally turned in October 8th and the sericea was already over three feet tall in areas. After approximately two weeks the goats had the sericea grazed down to only stems.
I have been working with Riley Walters at the Butler County Noxious Weed Department, and he has informed people of the use of goats on sericea instead of spraying. I am also getting a lot of questions from neighbors who see the goats as they drive by the fields. I live in the "Beef Country" of the Flint Hills and meat goats are new to this area. A lot of people do not like the meat goats, but are starting to as they see what they are doing to the sericea.