Demonstration of Leafy Spurge Management Using Sheep Grazing in a Leafy Spurge Barrier Zone

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2005: $9,960.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Sharla Sackman
Montana State University Extension Service

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: sheep


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, workshop, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, risk management
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, sustainability measures


    Producers in the tri-county area of Prairie, Fallon, and Wibaux counties in southeastern Montana have implemented a three-tiered management approach to more effectively contain and a prevent the spread of leafy spurge to uninfested rangeland. The first management tier is the Weed Management Area (WMA) at the center of a large leafy spurge infestation (more than 2,500 acres). Biological control is the primary control method in this WMA. To stop the spread, a cooperative barrier zone surrounds the WMA. More intensive leafy spurge management was implemented within this zone. This WSARE project has allowed Log Cabin Ranch to be become a barrier zone demonstration site where more intensive leafy spurge management techniques have been demonstrated and implemented to contain and reduce the spread of leafy spurge in this area. The third management tier is the Weed Prevention Area where early intervention management efforts protect the WPA from weed spread. The knowledge gained from this management approach was shared with area producers through a series of annual field tours.


    Implementation of a three-tiered management approach has been effective at mitigating the spread of leafy spurge in the tri-county area of Prairie, Fallon, and Wibaux counties. A Weed Management Area address the large, main infestation of leafy spurge, while the barrier zone intensifies management techniques, and a Weed Prevention Area prevents further weed spread. This WSARE project has been critical to the implementation of the intensified weed control efforts within the barrier zone on Log Cabin Ranch.

    Project objectives:

    • The first objective of this project was to implement a leafy spurge sheep grazing project in the barrier zone. The targeted grazing time was June, prior to leafy spurge seed set, on heavier infestations along Cabin Creek. Utilization plots will be used to monitor the grazing project.

      The second objective was to control 100 acres of smaller satellite infestations of leafy spurge with herbicide on Log Cabin Ranch.

      The third objective was to share information on leafy spurge management techniques with 50 area ranchers.

    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.