Field Bindweed – A Nutritious, Overlooked Forage

Back in 2009, I spent part of the summer as the "Jane Goodall of cows," following a herd of 69 cows and their calves to see what they ate, and how they learned. Half were trained to eat diffuse knapweed and yellow toadflax and I wanted to see how quickly the untrained cows and calves learned from them. Not only did trainees teach herd mates to eat weeds in less than a day, they also showed me that grass may not always be a cow's first or best choice! Day after day, I followed the herd as they grazed a 500-acre pasture, near Boulder, Colorado. That June and July were two of the wettest months in history and the pasture's grasses rebounded and forbs went wild. The pasture included a large prairie dog ghost-town that covered about 200 acres of the pasture, vacant because plague had killed them all. That area was almost grassless, and was covered in an assortment of weeds. It looked so bad from our accepted pasture paradigm that I nicknamed it the "garbage area." [caption id="attachment_44546" align="alignright" w

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One thought on “Field Bindweed – A Nutritious, Overlooked Forage

  1. Hi Kathy, I often think of your articles, teach live stock to eat weeds, when walking through the pasture. I am lucky that our cows often choose to eat what I consildered weeds while row cropping when moved to new slice of grass. They are dexter cross and do spend a lot of time teaching young what to eat, when they are not busy running and bouncing. I greatly appreciate what you and your contributors have taught me in a few short years. Jolly rancher used to be a candy enjoyed by all, now jolly rancher is a description of our life with cows.
    Thank you again, George

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