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Goats can be green weed whackers

Interest in using goats to clear unwanted vegetation on rangeland is growing in popularity, according to UC Cooperative Extension livestock farm advisor Roger Ingram. In a Sacramento Bee story published today, Ingram confirmed writer Ramon Coronado's central thesis: Goats can be a green answer to wildfire prevention.

Coronado reported that more than 60 people attended a recent forum where Ingram discussed the pros and cons of using goats instead of machinery, chemicals and weed whackers.

The use of goats for weed abatement has drawbacks, however. Here are some of the concerns:

  • Left unchecked, the animals can overgraze, leading to erosion and flash flooding
  • The weeds targeted by goats are the first to grow back and the first to dry up and die, which could create more wildfire fuel
  • The goats will produce CO2 during their munching and the trucks that deliver and move them around will also contribute to pollution

Ingram countered, according to the story, "You have to look at the big picture."

Goats on rangeland.
Goats on rangeland.

Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 10:20 AM
Tags: goats (5), wildfire (179)

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