Goats are newest weapon against Willard Bay Weeds
Utah State Parks unveiled its newest weapon in the battle against weeds at Willard Bay State Park [near the Great Salt Lake]. While the weapon may be new, it isn’t high tech.
Masticating goats, 250 of them, began chomping away at the problem last week, one mouthful at a time. They even got a chance to impress US Congressman Rob Bishop, who was touring the park to see recent improvements.
There are two vital goat characteristics which will help make the experiment successful – they’ll eat anything and they chew thoroughly enough to destroy the seeds so they won’t germinate upon reintroduction into the landscape.
With some recent landscaping projects at the park, weed seeds are thriving in the disturbed soil. The goats are moved to a weedy location where temporary fencing is erected. It is important to keep a close watch since the animals can finish off the weeds and start on other vegetation. The goats have been conditioned to eat the Dyers Woad first, Park Manager Roland Bringhurst said. Once the weeds are consumed, the herd is moved to another location. Jason Garn said the goats will be at the park for 5-6 weeks. The herd will then be moved on to Murray City. They will be transported in stock trailers.
If the experiment proves successful, the state may use goats on other state-owned lands. The cost is slightly higher than it would be if chemical treatments were used.
IN AN EFFORT TO CONTROL WEEDS at Willard bay State Park, 250 goats have been brought in to eat the unwanted plants, Dyers Woad being at the top of the list. Owners of D’Goat Ranch in Fielding are Jason, Dee and Mary Dell Garn who take turns tending the herd. A temporary fence is relocated as the goats clear the weeds out of the section. The goats are expected to be at the park for 5-6 weeks.