Grazing is an effective vegetation management tool that works best in cases where other options are impractical and financially unfeasible. Grazing can be more cost-effective on landscapes that are too steep, rocky, or remote for conventional vegetation management (like mowing or chemical treatment), or in the urban-wildland interface where burning is not an option.
What is targeted grazing?
Targeted grazing is the application of a specific kind of livestock at a determined season, duration, and intensity to accomplish defined vegetation or landscape goals. It can be implemented to impact invasive weeds, enhance habitat restoration efforts, and/or reduce fine fuels and ladder fuels to lessen wildfire hazard. Targeted grazers, aka contract grazers, are paid by a landowner or land manager to bring their animals, infrastructure (such as fencing and water), and expertise to a property to implement a planned grazing program. The land manager must have a clear vision of the desired plant community and landscape, and the livestock manager must have the skill to aim livestock at the target to accomplish those land management goals.
What type of livestock is best suited to graze my property?
This depends on the type of vegetation to be treated, as well as the terrain. Cattle and sheep tend to prefer grasses and forbs, while goats tend to prefer leaves and shoots of shrubs and trees in addition to grasses and forbs. Generally, cattle and horses prefer level to gently rolling ground and have more difficulty traversing steep slopes, wheras sheep and goats readily graze on steep slopes. Consideration of the site characteristics and vegetation management goals is paramount when selecting the appropriate species for the job.