- Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Animals: bovine, goats
- Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, range improvement
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Pest Management: biological control, physical control
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
The noxious weed leafy spurge is rapidly spreading across rangelands in many parts of the West, reducing grass production for cattle and increasing rancher reliance on herbicides for control.
Spurge-attacking insect releases have met with limited success, and the effectiveness of costly herbicides is often reduced by rough terrain, restrictions on some aerial applications and the spurge’s proximity to streams.
This Farmer/Rancher project aims to change the producer mindset from trying to eradicate leafy spurge to one of sustainable integrated pest management. The project coordinator will demonstrate how goats can be used, alongside other tools like insects, to manage noxious weeds like leafy spurge.
Project coordinator Craig Madsen will inventory range plants and install insect monitoring transects. He will then use 250 head of goats and kids for two treatments, each scheduled for three to four weeks over two years, documenting results each year.