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

    Proposal abstract:

    The rapid spread of leafy spurge across many ranches of southeastern Montana threatens the future of cattle production. Aggressive invasions of leafy spurge, unpalatable to cattle, displace native grasslands. Herbicides are often prohibitively expensive and biological control efforts with leafy spurge flea beetles have met with limited success. Sharla Sackman, Prairie County extension agent, says many cattle producers in eastern Prairie, northern Fallon and western Wibaux counties are interested in sustainable, effective management measures, like grazing sheep on leafy spurge. But they’re apprehensive about dietary overlap between sheep and cattle. With a Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant, Sackman will focus on a 962-acre leafy spurge infestation using frequent sheep grazing and periodic herbicide treatment. Grazing a perimeter barrier of the infestation will demonstrate how to stop the spread of leafy spurge, reduce apprehensions and promote benefits of multi-species grazing.

    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.