With Melanie Brown
There’s quite a bit of buzz around goats at the moment! Prices are on the rise, there’s an increasing acceptance of goat meat in Australia, and more and more farmers are jumping on board to use these eating machines as a sustainable weed control method.
For me (Mel, your Farmer Success Mobbler), the increased interest is inspiring. Goats are a huge passion of mine- there is no animal quite like them! When I’m not Mobbling I spend a lot of my time working with my small dairy herd to manage the enormous local weed burden around my place in central Victoria.
Our place is on gold country, and due to the significant soil disturbance caused by past mining activity, the weeds have taken over the landscape. Blackberry, Gorse, Broom, Elder, and Hawthorn trees tangle together across acres of bushland, and past management attempts with herbicides or brush cutters have only had limited or temporary success. These methods set the natural succession process back at step one, and the weeds soon come back with a vengeance.
For the past year I’ve been working with other community members to tackle the weed management problem using the eating power of goats. We rotationally graze our goats in the most weed-dominated areas, with fantastic results.
Once they get started, they’re unstoppable: they’ll clear every leaf and trample all the canes, putting some severe pressure on the weed species.
After a couple of seasons, the pressure on the blackberries allows other species start to repopulate the landscape.
My top tips for using goats to manage weeds:
Melanie Brown (Farmer Success Mobbler)
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