High Stock Density Gives Weed Control

Beefs and Beliefs

I use mob grazing to knock down goldenrod plants and give grass a better shot at sunlight and moisture next year.

Published on: November 3, 2011

Last week I promised to upload a report on how the calves did in tearing up a colony of goldenrod, a woody-stemmed plant in my pasture.

It made up about half the temporary paddock I turned them into.

 Here’s a photo of the density just as I first turned the calves in.

They walked through the colony and grazed among it but didn’t do as much damage as I hoped. No matter, I figured. Since I’m letting them back-graze and go back into previously grazed areas to the water tank I’ll just put a temporary fence along one side and make them walk through the goldenrod.
 

Here’s my temporary fence forcing the calves to go along the west side of the paddock.

That’s one of the things I love about temporary fencing for a lot of your main subdivisions. Every paddock is new and putting it where you want it is no big deal. Kim Barker of Waynoka, Oklahoma, talked about doing this with temporary fencing and plum thickets. You can read a little about his forage rationing during the drought and see a video of him in our web exclusives section.

So, after about a day and a half of walking through the goldenrod I got some reasonable defoliation and broke over perhaps half the plants in the colony.


 Here is a close-up of some broken stems with the tops mashed down on the ground.



Here is a picture not quite so close, showing plant material on the ground, less density of stems and several dung piles in the midst of it all.

 
Here is a picture farther back of the colony. Note how much of the leaf material and blooms are gone from the plants.

It will be a year before I know what I’ve accomplished in this spot, I suppose. But for now, I couldn’t ask for any better. I put some hoof action and fertility in the spot and broke the stems of a fair number of the plants. I did it for no cost but a few minutes of my time. And I didn’t hurt the calves’ performance a whit. All I did was ask them to walk through the plants on their way from pasture to water.