Cows Eat Leafy Spurge

Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) infests rangelands and pastures in all but the southern U.S. and is found throughout Canada.  It is considered a noxious invasive species everywhere it turns up thanks to the extreme difficulty we have in controlling it.  It spreads via seeds and rhizomes and there is some evidence that it changes soil chemistry in its immediate vicinity so that other plants can’t grow.  But what most farmers and ranchers living with this plant don't know is that cattle can eat it without harm, and since its nutritional value and digestibility compares to alfalfa, managing it through grazing could be great for cattle and the bottom line. Does Leafy Spurge Harm Cattle? The short answer is "No, it doesn't, as long as cattle have access to a variety of other forages."  But let's talk about this more. When I first started teaching cows to eat weeds in 2004, I had heard a lot of the same information that you may have heard. Sheep and goats can eat it but cows can’t.  The sap can cause irritation or burning in the mouth and digestiv

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