When Livestock Eat Weeds You Have 43% More Forage*

By Kathy Voth
See more at: http://onpasture.com/2017/06/19/when-cows-eat-weeds-you-have-43-more-forage/#sthash.m7gg0tes.dpuf
It’s that time of year when I remind you that you can teach your ruminant livestock to eat your weeds so that you have as much as 43% more forage, and you don’t have to worry about herbicide.
Training a group of 50 animals to eat weeds takes just 8 hours spread over 7 days at a cost of about $250. Trained animals teach their offspring and herd mates, they remember the new foods for the rest of their lives, and they even add more weeds to their diet all on their own. The best part? Weeds are almost always equal to or better than alfalfa in nutritional value. That’s why one herd I followed for 6 years began walking over the grass in their pastures to choose the weeds instead.
I’ve been training animals and telling farmers and ranchers how to do this since 2004. It turns out that the hardest part of the process is getting farmers and ranchers to try it. So today, I’m going to turn it over to Joe Morris of San Juan Bautista, California to talk about how it worked for him.
It Was Easy! You Can Do It!
That’s what Joe said about teaching cows to eat weeds a few years ago. Joe attended one of my presentations in 2007.  He took good notes and later that spring he taught his cows to eat milk thistle.  In this 2:40 video he describes his training experience.

Joe noticed that his trainees didn’t stop at eating just the target weed. “The bonus was that they ate not only the milk thistle in the pasture, but they also ate Italian thistle in the pasture, and black mustard.  And they ate it with gusto,” he said.
Not everyone takes notes as well as Joe did. So I’ve tried to make it easier for you to get started. Head over to this page with links to all the articles that I’ve written on this for On Pasture, and info on how you can get help from me for next to nothing. There are even links to my youtube channel so that you can watch videos of cows learning. They’re short, sweet and guaranteed to be entertaining.
Here’s What Your Cows Can Eat
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If you don’t see your plant on this list, drop me an email and I’ll check it out for you. If you decide to train, and you’re not sure that things are going right or you have questions, drop me an email. I’ve trained over 1,000 cows, 38 bison, several flocks of sheep and some goats how to eat weeds so I can solve most of your training problems by just talking to you about what’s going on.
Really, I’m serious! Get in touch with me. What good is a great invention if no one ever takes advantage of it? I want you to be successful and I want your cows to be successful.
 Go forth and eat weeds!
* Wondering about that 43% more forage? Economist John Morley looked at the common infestation rate he determined that having weed-eating cows could increase acreage available for grazing by as much as 43%.  Read more here.
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Lindsay Borman

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