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Improve Your Pastures by Using Livestock as Vegetation Managers

Let’s start this week with a question:

How much better would your life be if you had your livestock take over some of the vegetation management chores at your place?

My thought is this: They’re out there in the pasture 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and with just a few tweaks to the way we manage we can use their time to get rid of plants we don’t like, add more plants we do like, create better wildlife habitat, and more efficiently turn solar power into dollars.

To get you thinking, here are some examples of how other graziers are putting their livestock to work.

Brush Control

Blackberry bushes, multiflora rose, coyote bush – these and other brush species can quickly take over a pasture and we’ve spent lots of money over the years trying to knock them back. But you can have your livestock take over that chore with just a few adjustments to your management. Check it out!

Using Your Cattle To Control Blackberry Bushes and Other Plants You Love to Hate

Reduce Fertilizer Requirements and Increase Plant Species

Jim Gerrish describes how he used early spring grazing and summer rest, with a few seedings, to reduce endophyte infected tall fescue, increase other beneficial species, and decrease fertilizer requirements.

Grazing for Biodiversity

Get a Leg Up on a Rapidly Advancing Invasive Grass That’s Destroying Habitat and Pastures

Sometimes your livestock need some additional help, and while I don’t often promote the use of herbicides, in this case I make an exception. Check out how a rancher’s experience with an herbicide in combination with grazing showed researchers a way to save the West from this devastating plant.

A Rancher’s Discovery Provides Hope for Controlling Medusahead Rye

Graze for Wildlife

For many graziers, wildlife can be an additional source of income. Whether it’s bird or wildlife watching, or hunting, changes to how you manage can turn your livestock into tools that benefit wildlife. Here are two examples. The second includes a section on conservation practices that work for a wide variety of wildlife,a long with financial and technical resources to get you started.

Deseret Land and Livestock Manages for Wildlife AND Cattle

Beef and Bobwhites – How to Maximize Livestock Production While Helping Wildlife

Last but not least – The Funnies!

Beware of This Rare Bird

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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