By Sarah Sommerfeld, PAg, Agri-Environmental Specialist, Outlook
Producers face many challenges when controlling invasive weeds on pastures and rangelands, including vast hard-to-reach areas that make chemical and mechanical control impractical. Targeted grazing, also referred to as controlled grazing, is the use of a specific kind of livestock at a determined season, duration, and intensity to accomplish defined vegetation or landscape goals. Various studies and established programs show that grazing weeds and brush at the right time, duration, and intensity can effectively reduce their abundance.
Managing invasive plant infestations often requires an integrated approach with significant investment in time and resources. Targeted grazing can be a viable weed management tool when weed infestations are too large in size or when chemical or mechanical control are not feasible or cost effective. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Farm Stewardship Program, cost shared funding is available to eligible producers and pasture grazing associations to contain and manage large scale invasive plant infestations. The Invasive Plant Biocontrol and Targeted Grazing BMP provides 50 per cent cost shared funding of eligible expenses to a combined maximum of $45,000 per year; with a maximum of $5,000 for biocontrol and $40,000 for targeted small ruminant grazing per project per year. The noxious weeds for which targeted grazing projects can be eligible for funding include leafy spurge, Canada thistle, Russian knapweed, absinthe, common burdock, and common tansy.
When applying to the Invasive Plant Biocontrol and Targeted Grazing BMP, a pre-approval application must be submitted prior to any work on the targeted grazing project being completed. If you are considering a potential project, you are encouraged to reach out for program assistance.
For further information on CAP programs or for technical assistance regarding a specific on-farm project, visit our CAP program web pages. You can contact a Ministry of Agriculture Programs Specialist or Ministry of Agriculture Agri-Environmental Specialist at your closest Regional Office or call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 for programming inquiries.