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Is Rancher’s Success Against Ragweed Really a Win?

By   /  April 21, 2014  /  3 Comments

Yes, you can use equipment, herbicides and fertilizers to reduce your weeds and increase your grasses in pasture. But is it really cost-effective? Just a thought – maybe if your livestock ate nutritious weeds, everyone’s life would be easier.

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Actually, I didn’t have to teach my trainees to eat ragweed. I taught them to eat diffuse knap
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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:

    Another comment. In the wild cattle ate everything available for survival. We have so babied our cattle that they lost this natural behavior. Let a cow be a cow. She knows what to do if you let her.

  2. Chip Hines says:

    Another point about cattle grazing weeds. The weeds are there taking moisture from the soil. If a cow is eating these weeds, she is in effect taking more pounds of forage production off the land. Instead of weeds being wasted, they create a greater forage base. Cattle need a diversity in their diet which contributes to their health. Weeds will always be there, so learn to love them.

  3. Jill says:

    Good article. This rancher produces hay tho -isn’t grazing this pasture? If he bales it, How might the drying of the ragweed affect the nutritional value? Perhaps since it started off better than alfalfa, it would retain it’s advantage. Additionally,once it goes to seed would it’s value decline dramatically and ruin his last cutting? That would be costly. Just things to ponder. I’ve hand fed my cattle young ragweed and they will nibble on it but have not taught them to eat it- guess I should try it.

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