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Targeted grazing techniques

Take the time to plan before unleashing your livestock on pests

Radio interview source: Margaret Soulen-Hinson, secretary/treasurer, American Sheep Industry Association

 
 

 

 

Listen to the radio story here

Plan ahead

For centuries, landowners have used livestock grazing as a management tool for controlling invasive species, noxious weeds, and providing fuel breaks for fire control. It's better for the environment and more cost effective than herbicides, especially if you have to cover a large expanse of land.

Margaret Soulen-Hinson operates a sheep and cattle grazing operation. She says before you rent some sheep to mow your pasture, keep in mind that it involves a lot of planning.

"You have to look at the timing of the year when you're grazing, specific species of plant, and what you're trying to do," Soulen-Hinson says. "You need to look at the intensity, you have the number of head on there for the appropriate amount of time."

For the best results, you'll need more than one livestock species to do the clean-up. That's because they eat different plants and are comfortable in certain landscapes. Cattle prefer grasses on flatland, whereas sheep and goats like to browse and will eat forbs on steep slopes.

If livestock are put to pasture when the weeds are actively growing, they'll practically stop an alien botanical invasion in its tracks.

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