June 13, 2022

Canada thistle is my favorite forage. You can learn to love it too!

Since developing a simple method for teaching cows and other livestock to eat weeds, I’ve trained lots of cows, goats, sheep and bison to eat most of our most problematic invasives. With all I’ve learned about weeds in that time, I’ve grown to love one more than all the rest: Canada thistle (cirsium arvense, also […]

April 5, 2021

Have You Discovered the Benefits of Canada Thistle?

I have a different feeling about weeds than most people. That’s because I’ve turned them into forage. Read on for the benefits of one of my favorite forages – Canada thistle. In 2004, I developed a simple method for teaching cows and other  livestock to eat weeds. It takes just eight hours spread over seven […]

May 18, 2015

How to Manage Cattle to Reduce Leafy Spurge, Spotted Knapweed and Canada Thistle

This is the second in the series on managing grazing to get the forage you want.

March 19, 2013

Canada Thistle is Alfalfa’s Equal

This plant compares to alfalfa in nutritional value. Here are some ways to use that nutrition to manage this plant in your pastures.

July 11, 2022

Increased CO2 in the Atmosphere Increases Weeds. Weed-Eating Livestock Could Be a Solution

Some years back, I went to a meeting in Denver sponsored by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. I don’t remember the exact title, but it was something about how ranchers could adapt to a changing climate. Scientists explained what their research was telling them about plant responses to increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, and they shared […]

June 27, 2022

I’ve Got This Weed In My Pasture. What Does It Tell Me About My Soil?

You may have seen this On Pasture article before, but since this month we’re focusing on weeds, I thought you’d like to see it again. Enjoy! Can weeds tell you about soil health issues? Well, yes and no. I’ve got a lot of experience with weeds since I’ve spent the last 17 years teaching cattle, […]

June 13, 2022

Can Cows Eat Woolly Croton (Goatweed/Doveweed)?

When I was in Grapevine, Texas for a conference several years ago, lots of folks asked me if they could use my training technique to teach cows to eat Woolly Croton. Woolly Croton (Croton capitatus) is also known as goat weed or dove weed, because dove, quail and turkeys love the seeds it produces. That […]

March 7, 2022

A Part-Timer and Proud of It!

Thanks to Curt Gesch for this piece reminding us that we don’t have to be full-time farmers/ranchers to be considered critical to our communities. Curt is a retired schoolteacher who is passionate about creation care. He and his wife, Betsey, live on a 153-acre farm, which includes more than 80 acres of “moose pasture.” They […]

November 15, 2021

Being a Thinking Grazier Includes Understanding How Animals Choose What to Eat

In this month’s Thinking Grazier, Darrell Emmick points out the importance of understanding what a cow needs to be most productive and how she chooses those foods. It’s something I’ve studied for many years used to add nutritious foods to livestock diets. If you’ve spent much time at all at On Pasture, you know I’m […]

October 25, 2021


Grazing 101 – Free ebook Principles, hows and whys of good grazing. Inspired by a grazier with 60 years of experience. Plus a discount coupon for your On Pasture subscription. Premium Content All the articles on a topic gathered in ebooks to answer your most commonly asked questions. Pinkeye and Fly Management Made Easier Pasture […]

November 30, 2020

Helping Animals Get the Most From Your Pastures

In general, the more livestock eat, the more weight they gain or milk they produce. Thus, forage intake is key to animal performance. Agronomists manage for plant density and height to ensure livestock maximize intake. While plant structure is important, intake is not dictated by structure alone. Forage quality, current nutritional state, and experience also […]

April 6, 2020

Managing Livestock to Meet Weed Management Goals – Bonus

Yes, I’d like to download this ebook. $7.75 Purchase article Use discount code OPEBOOKS for 25% off your annual subscription and get access to this ebook, all the bonus content and access to our library of over 2,500 articles.

March 30, 2020

Why Cows That Learn to Eat One Weed Will Choose to Eat Others

In 2004, I trained cows at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site to eat Canada thistle, leafy spurge and spotted knapweed. Then, they started eating musk thistle as soon as I put them in pasture. When I trained 110 pairs to eat Canada thistle at the Jumping Horse Ranch near Ennis, Montana, they added musk thistle […]

March 23, 2020

How to Teach Cows to Eat Weeds in Just 8 Hours Over 7 Days

This works for any animal – so whatever you’re raising, check it out! In 2004, I taught a small group of heifers to eat Canada thistle, leafy spurge and spotted knapweed. I was inspired by two decades of research on how animals choose what to eat, and by ranchers’ (perfectly reasonable) refusal to incorporate goats […]

March 16, 2020

Can Grazing Eliminate Weeds?

Before I started On Pasture, I was best known for having invented a method for teaching cows to eat weeds. The process is based in behavior science and is very simple. In as little as 8 hours spread over 10 days, anyone can teach their livestock to add a new weed to their diet. It […]

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