43% Better – The Economics of Getting Your Livestock to Eat Weeds

When I started teaching cows to eat weeds, I thought everyone would see what I saw:  an economical alternative for weed management.  If cows or other livestock eat weeds, you don’t have to spend money on herbicide or buy fuel for spray rigs or mowers.  You don’t have to rent goats (sorry goat producers).  And if you’re not interested in management intensive grazing, you don’t have to buy fencing equipment and set up any fences to get the cows to trample or eat the weeds.  They just roam through pastures as they always do, adding weeds to their diets. Still, just because that’s what I see, doesn’t mean it’s obvious to everyone.  I could even be wrong!  So I consulted some economists and I asked ranchers I’d worked with what they thought.  Then I put it all together in a video to share with folks who want to know. You can watch the video, or read below for a summary of what my consultants and ranchers told me. Reading on a tablet? Here's your link. Increase Grazeable Acreage By As Much as 43% Economist John Morley noted that weed management is a huge problem. For example the state of Montana needs a 50% increase in its budget, from $20 million to $30 millon just to prevent weeds from expanding. North and South Carolina spent $250 million and could not eradicate weeds. When he looked at a common infestation rate he determined that having weed-eating cows could increase acreage available for grazing by as much as 43%. Bart Holowath of Canad

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2 thoughts on “43% Better – The Economics of Getting Your Livestock to Eat Weeds

  1. This is another instance of bringing cows back into the natural world. When they were wild, they would have grazed nearly everything for survival, same as wild animals of today.

    Cows lost this knowledge when we began babying them and made their life so easy they depended on us for survival.

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