Image source: Getty Images
Cattle ranchers in Nebraska are increasingly turning to goats to get rid of their weed problems. Referred to as "walking weed eaters", the North Platte Telegram reported this morning that cattle will bypass the weeds for the grass, but the goats will go straight for the weeds - eating, trampling and fertilizing the entire pasture. This is important for farmers in a state where it is legally mandated to keep invasive weeds down.
Goat farmers who make cheese and milk are finding that customers are increasingly calling not just for the dairy but for the goats themselves to come clear out their fields. This is great for dairy farmers who get free food, fat/shiny goats and can help keep herbicides out of area land and waterways. The idea is being promoted by the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition as an alternative to using chemicals and pesticides to control weeds. The Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service is also getting on board by helping pay area farmers to use goats instead of chemicals.Goats have long been used to maintain pastures, particularly because of their heartiness and ability to tolerate different landscapes and climates. Using them as weed-eaters is one of the easiest methods as no chemicals or machinery are necessary. Simple off-load the goats onto a property and let them go to work for a few days or a few weeks, depending on the property size.
What the article didn't say is how farmers keep from feeding herbicides to the goats, as fields that were once sprayed are now using these four-legged creatures for maintenance.
::North Platte Telegraph
More on Goats and Weed Maintenance
L.A. Demands Fire-Fighting Goats
Graze Anatomy: Using Aversion Therapy on Sheep
California Winery Brings in the Sheep, Cuts Fuel Use in Half
Survey: How Do You Mow Your Lawn