Livestock as land management tools: weed control using goats

TitleLivestock as land management tools: weed control using goats
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsTartowski S., Harris S.
Conference NameProceedings of the Annual Conference of the Quivira Coalition
Date PublishedJanuary 13, 2005
ARIS Log Number174885
Keywordsgoats, land management tools, livestock, weed control
AbstractLivestock can have both desirable and undesirable impacts on vegetation and rangeland. Use of livestock to rehabilitate range and riparian ecosystems represents one aspect of the broader role of ranchers as land managers, rather than the more narrow role as livestock producers. Invasive species are a significant problem on western rangelands and salt cedar is a particularly damaging species that has infested riparian areas throughout the Southwest. Traditionally, chemical and mechanical methods are used to control salt cedar, but biological control methods are being developed and applied at several sites in New Mexico. The use of goats for the biocontrol of weeds is expanding rapidly, with new opportunities for commercial goatherders. This workshop will describe the effects of goats used to control salt cedar in an experimental project at San Acacia on the Rio Grande. This is the first study to quantify the damage done to salt cedar as well as the impact on other plant species. The details of managing goats for weed removal, including stocking rate, control of herd movements, timing of browsing and protection of desirable species will be presented. Management of livestock for commercial weed control and business aspects of ranchers contracting as land managers will be discussed by Sarah Harris of Western Weedeaters, a successful commercial operation. Guidelines and advice for initiating use of goats for weed control will assist both ranchers and land managers in deciding whether and how to use goats to control weeds in specific situations.