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Testing Targeted Cattle Grazing to Suppress Spotted Knapweed – PNWSRM Webinar Series

November 2

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Home on the Range Webinar Series, Fall 2021

Once again, BC Chapter offers a webinar series showcasing projects and case studies of young range management professionals and students in the PNW. Each 30 minute webinar will feature a 15 minute presentation followed by questions and discussions.

November 2, 2021

Testing Targeted Cattle Grazing to Suppress Spotted Knapweed

Kristi Gordon

MSc in Environmental Science Candidate, Thompson Rivers University

Invasive species pose a significant threat to the livelihood of British Columbia (BC) ranchers. Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), in particular, can reduce native plant diversity, form dense monocultures and overwhelm the native seed bank. Integrated rangeland management strategies are therefore needed to suppress weeds and restore ecological function as a whole. Our research took place in Merritt, BC, and tested the efficacy of targeted cattle grazing to help control C. stoebe in native, semi-arid rangelands. We found that targeted cattle grazing was effective in controlling C. stoebe seed production; cattle readily consumed C. stoebe at the late bud-flowering stage and reduced the number of mature seeds by 88% and seed heads by 79%. At the point of targeted grazing, C. stoebe also contained more crude protein and total digestible nutrients than the grass community. Research results will generate targeted cattle grazing protocols for C. stoebe control, and we will assess whether intensive grazing practices can create productive invasive-free rangelands in BC’s Southern Interior.

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