- Animals: goats
- Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing management, grazing - multispecies, pasture renovation
- Education and Training: extension, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research, youth education
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, analysis of personal/family life, sustainability measures
Land-based resources of this farm are being overrun with undesirable plant species, more specifically, autumn olive and multiflora. The preference would be to use a biological method for controlling plant species, which reduces the need for any chemical use. As previously stated, this farm encompasses a unique natural habitat that includes rolling pasture, timber and marsh, along with artesian wells. The use of chemicals to control undesirable plant species would be ill advised and is not a desired method of control. Controlling these undesirable plant species, as well as other known plant species toxic to equine is extremely important for protecting existing on- farm investments (horses and ponies). Calculated efforts to improve pasture forage availability and decrease risks associated with undesirable plant species can only improve the health and well-being of the horses and ponies that currently reside on the farm.
There would be two facets of this project. The first will be placing goats into allocated browsing paddocks in an established equine pasture that is being overrun by undesirable plant species, such as autumn olive and multiflora rose. The second facet of this project will be to supply goat meat to an already existing market that appears to be supply deficient. Therefore, the project objectives are as follows:
1) To increase forage availability in equine pastures by using goats to control undesirable plant species;
2) To investigate a biological method for controlling undesirable plant species while protecting natural habitat by avoiding chemical method of control;
3) To evaluate the possibility of creating a business opportunity in the goat meat market to diversify farming operation;
4) Exemplify and expand use of land base resources
-Goats may play an active role in eliminating the autumn olive and multiflora rose growing in pastures as well as other potential toxic plants known to equine in pastures.
-Improve forage availability in horse pastures to allow for a longer grazing season and reduce hay input costs
-Obtaining small ruminants to control undesirable plant species on the farm may in turn create a business opportunity in the goat meat industry that will ultimately diversify the farm operation and expand the use of established land base resources.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Investigate a biological method (goat grazing) for controlling undesirable plant species while protecting natural habitat by avoiding chemical method of control.
- Evaluate the possibility of creating a business opportunity in the goat meat market to diversify farming operation.
- Share results with regional farmers through field days demonstrations and publication in an academic newsletter.