Submitted to: Sheep and Goat Research Journal
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 26, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Western juniper is expanding its range,and sagebrush is increasing in density and cover on Northern Great Basin rangelands. Because biological control agents are more acceptable, our objectives were 1) to assess the potential of Spanish goats for woody plant control during the growing season and during late-summer after forages had cured, and 2) determine the nutritive value of the goats dietary choices. Direct observations and bite-counts were used to quantify species selected during each of the two forage phases. When forages were actively growing approximately 534 kg/ha of herbage were available to the goats and after forages had cured 572 kg/ha of herbage were available. Dietary preference of the goats shifted with changes in plant phenology. When forages were actively growing, goats harvested roughly 71% of their total bites from forbs, and 28% were selected from grasses. Dietary CP was 11%. When forages had cured, forbs still dominated the diet at 56% of total bites, grasses ranked second at roughly 35%, and 9% of bites were harvested from Juniper. Dietary CP was 7%. As we wished to affect target plants without impacting the more desirable forages, we suggest that Spanish goats have little potential for control of established Artemisia and juniper on good condition rangeland.