Goat Grazing Leafy Spurge One Way to Lend Mother Nature a Helping Hand by farmservice


									Idahoans Pulling Together Against Invasive Weeds

Goat Grazing & Leafy Spurge One Way to Lend Mother Nature a Helping Hand For Immediate Use Meridian, Idaho - May 10, 2004 Contact: Roger Batt (208) 888-0988

It begins at the end of May as temperatures start to escalate and summer is just around the corner. A special group of weed warriors are unloaded in a land infested with Leafy Spurge, one of Idaho’s noxious weeds threatening productive grazing lands. These weed warriors do not carry backpack sprayers, nor do they work eight-hour days or take coffee breaks. They are goats and they play a major role in the control of this insidious noxious weed now inhabiting 100,000 acres of Idaho’s land. The Weiser River Corridor Grazing Project has utilized goats for two years and is seeing results. Goat grazing helps reduce the seed population and opens up a canopy for desirable plants to re-establish themselves. “Grazing stresses Leafy Spurge over time and increases its vulnerability to other control methods,” said Bonnie Davis, Washington County Weed Superintendent. “It must be understood that grazing is not a cure-all and that it will not eradicate Leafy Spurge. Leafy Spurge did not get here overnight and it is not going away overnight.” This long-term project is just one of many to lend Mother Nature a helping hand in the fight against Idaho’s noxious weeds. Others include the use of herbicides, biological control using insects, mechanical means and re-vegetation. Many folks question the cost of goats grazing Leafy spurge infested land, but it only costs 50 cents per goat per day (cheaper then taking a child to McDonald’s for lunch). Many have asked why goats and not sheep? Studies have indicated it may take up to one full season for sheep to actively seek out Leafy Spurge. Goats seem to acquire a taste for this invader almost instantly. Some refer to Leafy Spurge as a narcotic for goats. Once they get hooked they like it over all other vegetation. Projects such as these are funded by Federal and State agencies and are partnered up with private landowners such as ranchers. For more information on noxious weeds or to report noxious weed infestations go to our website at www.idahoweedawareness.org or call the Idaho Weed Awareness Hotline at 1-866IDWEEDS.

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