Invasive Species Control through Combined Methods of Browzing and Prescribed Burning

2015 Annual Report for FNC15-996

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2015: $14,865.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2017
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Ray Hansen
Prairiewood Farms

Invasive Species Control through Combined Methods of Browzing and Prescribed Burning


Project Overview

The project incorporates the USDA approved methods of goat browsing and prescribed burns to maximize control of invasive species and invigorate native savanna growth in multi-use timber stands. An on-farm research/demonstration plot will be established for comparing the effectiveness of individual and combined control methods for invasive species in timber.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Project Objectives:
1) Maximum control of invasive species
2) Stimulate the desired natural understory regrowth of hardwood trees and Oak Savanna native plants


Goat Rotation for Maximum Defoliation

Timeline Tasks and Performance Targets:

Late Winter 2014/15:

The landowner and project team identified 10-12 acres within the existing timber stand that is conducive to setting up replicated trial plots. COMPLETED  4/15

Project team isolated the research plots and prepared them for the replicated trials. COMPLETED (PHOTOS ATTACHED) 4/15

Test points identified, GIS tagged and pre-test vegetative analysis conducted. COMPLETED 5/15

3300″ fence installed to establish plots.

First round of defoliation with 40 goats for one month. Completed 5/15

Invasive species allowed to fully re-leaf for one month. Completed 6/15

Round two of defoliation with goats for one month. Completed July 2015

Pre-during and Post evaluation data collection.  Completed Sept 2015

Fence removed and fire lanes improved in preparation for timber burn on selected plots. Completed Sept 2015

Field Days and individual tours – 3 field days, 12 individual vistors – Completed Sept 25


Coordinate with Certified Burn Contract to burn the appropriate research plots. Scheduled for  Oct/Nov 15.  Dependent on leaf drop and climatic conditions.

Data collection and evaluation. ONGOING

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Field Days, Data Collection

Data supporting the effectivness of the individual and combined methods of controlling invasive species will not be done until the following spring (and subsequent years) however the interest in combining control methods can easily be measured by the attendance at field days and inquiries received about the project. As of Oct 1, the project team hosted three field days with a total of 62 attendees along with a dozen individual visitors during the summer months. The project has also been highlighted in local newspaper press releases and presented at local civic organizations.

Interest expressed by landowners of various sizes, including municipalities, has resulted in the owners of the goats expanding the services offered to accommodate a wider variety of interests and needs.

Initial results of multiple grazing has had a significant and visible impact on the health and vigor of the invasive species. Heading into the fall (eight weeks after second browse) noticable defoliation is still apparent – implying that the plants have experienced a large deficit in the amount of energy put into root storage. That vigor will be tested by both over wintering and the controlled burning plots later this fall.  Impact will be measured again in the spring.


Penny Perkins
research manager
FTF Restorartion
1903 W. Walnut St
Granger, IA 50109
Office Phone: 5155379309
Aaron Steele
Goats on The Go
17992 570th Ave
Ames, IA 50010
Office Phone: 5152576846
Nick Jordan
Jordan Resources LLC
505 S Greene St
Boone, IA 50036