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Russian Knapweed Can Be A Tasty Forage

By   /  November 4, 2013  /  2 Comments

Though Russian knapweed is not safe in large quantities for horses, it can be part of a nutritious diet for your ruminant livestock.

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All Russian Knapweed photos courtesy of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Russian knapweed
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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.


  1. Chip Hines says:

    When it was decided that cows had to be “babied”, to increase production, we diminished their innate knowledge to live off the land and eat whatever grew there. A cows knowledge can be turned back to what is natural and that makes her so much more efficient. She doesn’t know any different if she is eating nutritious weeds instead of alfalfa hay. This is what she was designed to do! We have to take a step back and study nature, and then work with the cow to build on that knowledge without making her dependent on us for her well being.

  2. Ben Berlinger says:

    Good article Kathy. It is very pertinent to a situation that i’m advising on right now. My nephew owns 200 acres north of Alamosa that is infested with Russian knapweed but has a fair component of perennial native grasses and some fourwing saltbush. He and his father have tried mowing and some spraying to control it but with no or very limited success. He bought are a few head of heifers this past spring to pasture on his place and we used your techniques to train the heifers to eat the knapweed. It worked pretty well this summer. I’d say the heifers eat about 30-40% of their diet was the knapweed so we thought that was fair success. He’ll need to repeat the training on the new cattle he brings on the place next spring. But anyway, thank you for developing the training protocol for us…! We’ve definately turned these feifers in weed eaters thanks to you!

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