Pasture versus invasives: competing in newly-disturbed soil under a newly-opened canopy transitioning to silvopasture

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $5,350.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Berstein Community Farm
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: pasture renovation, rangeland/pasture management
  • Crop Production: silvopasture
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: competition, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems, permaculture

    Proposal summary:

    Our farm has a 4.5 acre semi-wooded area between a ridge and property boundary that has been overgrown with invasive species. We had been planning to remove the invasives and establish silvopasture but a week after marking trees for removal, a violent storm uprooted about half the trees for us, accelerating our timeline.

    We are currently in the beginning stages of using swine to clear the invasives and after their work, we plan to seed pasture. In this project, we propose evaluating how well pasture will grow in this semi-wooded environment and how well it will suppress invasive regrowth. We will compare samples in the main pig-disturbed and broadcast-seeded areas with samples from adjacent areas that are undisturbed and left unseeded, undisturbed and overseeded with the same pasture mix, and disturbed but left to regrow from the seed bank. We will also give a cursory evaluation of the time of year best suited for this pig-and-then-pasture disturbance by comparing the next-season pasture quality and invasive species prevalence of paddocks disturbed and seeded at different times of year.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Assess the quality of pasture before disturbance, after disturbance, and the season after seeding (including in control areas).
    2. Evaluate the presence of invasive plants before disturbance, after disturbance, and the season after seeding (including in control areas).
    3. Assess the effectiveness of disturbance by comparing data from test areas to data from control
    4. Compare quality of pasture and presence of invasives across disturbance/seeding times, to determine the best time of year to use this method of invasive
    5. Share findings through field days, citizen science events, and social
    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.