Goats coming to Carson to eat knapweeds
June 1, 2007
The west side of Carson City again will be alive with the sound of bleating as goats return to eat weeds that could cause fires.
Roughly 150 doe and kid goats are expected today to begin up to three weeks of grazing at Quill Ranch, land near Kings Canyon owned by the city.
In reality, “goats aren’t that noisy,” said Ann Bollinger, the city’s open space assistant. “Sheep make more noise than goats.”
The goats are being brought to the area by Gloria Montero of Weed Warriors, based in Fallon. She is the same contractor who brought goats to the area last summer.
A group of handlers, herding dogs and an electrified fence will protect the animals from predators.
Russian knapweed, along with other noxious plants, is “detrimental or destructive and difficult to control or eradicate,” according to the University of Nevada Reno Cooperative Extension.
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Control or management of noxious plants, such as the knapweed, is a good fire fuel-reduction practice and required by state law, Bollinger said.
Goats also like to eat cheatgrass, and don’t mind eating it later in the season than sheep. The animals are expected to dine on that vegetation, too.
The grazing is followed up with a chemical treatment later in the year. Before and after comparisons indicate the goat-chemical double whammy conducted last year has reduced the amount of knapweed in the area by more than half and in some sections by nearly three-quarters, she said.
Last year, the goats covered about 10 acres. Last year’s progress means less time grazing this year.
Officials want to slow weed growth in the area enough to be able to go without having to use any chemicals at Quill because it’s near one of the city’s wells.
Montero will be paid $3 to $4 for each adult goat’s work per day, Bollinger said.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.