Use of goats as biological agents for the renovation of pastures in the Appalachian region of the United States
Source: Agroforestry Systems, Volume 44, Number 2, 1 February 1998 , pp. 241-252(12)
Abstract:Much of hill-land pasture in the Appalachian region of the United States is dominated by herbaceous weeds and brush. Low cost, low input and environmentally acceptable reclamation procedures are needed to maintain the productivity of these pastures. This experiment evaluated the effectiveness of using goats (Capra hircus hircus) alone (30 mature, brush does/ha) or cattle (Bos taurus) with goats (17 mature, brush does/ha + two to three steers/ha -- 225 kg average live weight) to reclaim a pasture from an abandoned, overgrown 5.9 ha orchard left untouched for 15 years. Over four grazing seasons, managed defoliation resulted in a substantial increase in herbaceous vegetative cover in plots grazed by goats alone (65 to 86%) and by goats with cattle (65 to 80%) while vegetative cover decreased from 70 to 22% in the control plot. Similarly, the cover by grass species increased in the grazed plots (goats: 16 to 63%; goats + cattle: 13 to 54%) while averaging 10% in the control plot. Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora Thumb.) bushes were practically eliminated after four grazing seasons as quantified by an average reduction in height from 2.1 m to 0.6 m, and by the number of dead canes (stems) in both the goat (100%) or goat + cattle (92%) treatments. Results indicated that the foraging habits of goats resulted in the elimination of multiflora rose bushes and in a significant increase in desirable forage species.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Science and Department of Crop Science, North Carolina State University, Box 7620, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620, USA (Author for Correspondence: E-Mail: Jean-Marie_Luginbuhl@ncsu.edu) 2: Haywood County Cooperation Extension Service, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA 3: Department of Crop Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA 4: Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Publication date: 1 February 1998