Using Molasses as an Attractant for Concentrating Grazing on Medusahead

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2006: $3,479.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Morgan Doran
University of California


  • Animals: sheep


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, feed additives, free-range
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Pest Management: biological control, field monitoring/scouting, physical control

    Proposal abstract:

    Medusahead, an invasive noxious annual plant from Eurasia, infests 5 million acres of California rangeland and millions more in other Western states. Severe medusahead invasions can reduce grazing value by $20 an acre each year, reduce recreational value and cause extremely low biodiversity. A team of University of California researchers addressing medusahead control has found that control can be achieved with high density grazing. The project will test the method of focusing a high density of sheep on medusahead infestations without the expense of building fences. It will test this by spraying varying concentrations of a molasses and water mixture directly on the medusahead during the plant boot stage to entice sheep to graze it. Project coordinator Morgan Doran, working on the ranch of Jim Yeager of Putah Creek Dorsets, will measure the shifts in botanical composition, forage utilization and nutritional quality from the sheep 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.