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Utilization of Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula) by Sheep

  • Barbara K. Landgraf (a1), Peter K. Fay (a1) and Kris M. Havstad (a1)

Abstract

The forage selection and grazing behavior of sheep in leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L. ♯3 EPHES)-infested pastures was examined in a 3-month grazing study conducted during the summer, 1981. No definite preference for or avoidance of leafy spurge was detected. An initial 1- to 3-week avoidance was observed, followed by a steady increase in leafy spurge consumption. A maximum intake of 40 to 50% of the diet per animal was observed. Weight gain by ewes in pastures infested with leafy spurge was not significantly different from weight gain by ewes in pastures free of leafy spurge. Results from these studies indicate that leafy spurge may be classified as a forage for sheep. Sheep will consume a significant amount of vegetation while suffering neither harmful internal effects nor a significant loss of body weight. Sheep can be considered an effective biological control agent for leafy spurge.

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Keywords

Utilization of Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula) by Sheep

  • Barbara K. Landgraf (a1), Peter K. Fay (a1) and Kris M. Havstad (a1)

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