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News and information from UC Cooperative Extension about alfalfa and forage production.
Tractor & Hay bales
by Dan Spangler
on February 8, 2019 at 11:05 AM
I heard that weed seeds consumed by goats and later excreted are not viable. Is this true? Do goats (and sheep) help reduce the seed bank of weeds? Related question, can sheep or goats bring in weed seed from the prior grazing site?
Reply by Daniel H Putnam
on February 11, 2019 at 2:57 PM
Great question. The answer is - some of them, not all of them. That is, digestion takes care of some weed seeds not others. I would have to check with weeds people as to whether there is any evidence that in balance, grazing would reduce seed bank or not. I suppose that if some percentage of weed seeds are rendered non-viable, that it would reduce the seed bank. On the other hand, if seed is 'scarified' by digestion, it would enhance germination (some have evolved to pass through digestive systems of birds and herbivores). The last question is yes- sheep or goats can bring in weed seed, on hoofs, coats, and perhaps in manures.
by Mil
on March 25, 2020 at 1:32 PM
Did Jesus , when born, live in a place where goats and sheep grazed in winter?
Reply by Daniel H. Putnam
on November 11, 2021 at 11:11 AM
Yes indeed.
by Alfa
on July 24, 2020 at 12:47 PM
Good to know this
by Dan Clark
on November 11, 2021 at 10:38 AM
Was wondering if "sheeping off" might be a means of avoiding chemicals to remove alfalfa stand? I recently bought a 1.5 acre plot with alfalfa with the intent of using land for an orchard and need to remove alfalfa  
Reply by Daniel H. Putnam
on November 11, 2021 at 11:10 AM
This is not likely to kill the alfalfa, since it is a perennial and will regrow after defoliation. Need to use combination of herbicides and tillage.
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