Skip to main content Accessibility help

Cattle Foraging Behavior in Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula)-Infested Rangeland

  • Rodney G. Lym (a1) and Donald R. Kirby (a2)


Leafy spurge causes economic loss by reducing both herbage production and use. Herbage use by grazing cattle in various densities of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L. #3 EPHES) was evaluated over a 3-yr period in North Dakota. Forage production and disappearance were estimated in four density classes of leafy spurge. Use of cool- and warm-season graminoids, forbs, and leafy spurge was estimated during the middle and the end of each grazing season. Cattle used 20 and 2% of the herbage in the zero and low density infestations, respectively, by mid-season. Moderate and high density infestations were avoided until the milky latex in leafy spurge disappeared in early fall, and herbage availability in zero and low density infestations declined. Herbage use in moderate and high density infestations increased to an average of 46% by the end of the grazing season compared to 61% in zero and low density infestations. An annual herbage loss of at least 35% occurred in pasture infested with 50% density or more of leafy spurge.



Hide All
1. Alley, H. P., Humburg, N. E., Fornstrom, J. K., and Ferrell, M. 1984. Leafy spurge repetitive herbicide treatments. Res. Weed Sci. Wyo. Agric. Exp. Stn. Res. J. 192:9093.
2. Allison, C. D. 1985. Factors affecting forage intake by range ruminants: A review. J. Range Manage. 38:305311.
3. Best, K. F., Bowes, G. G., Thomas, A. G., and Maw, M. G. 1980. The biology of Canadian weeds. 39. Euphorbia esula L. Can. J. Plant Sci. 60:651663.
4. Dunn, P. H. 1979. The distribution of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and other weedy Euphorbia spp. in the United States. Weed Sci. 27:509516.
5. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Univ. Kans. Press, Lawrence.
6. Johnston, A., and Peake, R. W. 1960. Effect of selective grazing by sheep on the control of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.). J. Range Manage. 13:192195.
7. Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous Plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
8. Landgraf, B. K., Fay, P. K., and Havstad, K. M. 1984. Utilization of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) by sheep. Weed Sci. 32: 348352.
9. Lym, R. G., and Messersmith, C. G. 1983. Control of leafy spurge with herbicides. N. D. Farm Res. 40(5): 1619, 26.
10. Lym, R. G., and Messersmith, C. G. 1985. Leafy spurge control and improved forage production with herbicides. J. Range Manage. 38:386391.
11. Lym, R. G., and Messersmith, C. G. 1987. Leafy spurge control with resulting forage production from several herbicide treatments. Res. Prog. Rep. West. Soc. Weed Sci., p. 1920.
12. Messersmith, C. G. 1983. The leafy spurge plant. N. D. Farm Res. 40(5):37.
13. Messersmith, C. G., and Lym, R. G. 1983. Distribution and economic impacts of leafy spurge in North Dakota. N. D. Farm Res. 40(5):813.
14. Nielsen, D. B. 1978. The economic impact of poisonous plants on the range livestock industry in the 17 western states. J. Range Manage. 31:325328.
15. Reilly, W., and Kaufman, K. R. 1979. The social and economic impact of leafy spurge in Montana. Pages 2124 in Proceedings: Leafy spurge symposium. N. D. State Univ. Coop. Ext. Serv., unnumbered publication.
16. Selleck, G. W., Coupland, R. T., and Frankton, C. 1962. Leafy spurge in Saskatchewan. Ecol. Monogr. 32:129.
17. Soil Conservation Service. 1984. Range Site Technical Guide Notice ND–35. Bismarck, ND.
18. Statistical Analysis System Institute. 1982. SAS Users' Guide: Statistics. Cary, NC.
19. Vavra, M., Rice, R. W., and Bement, R. E. 1973. Chemical composition of the diet, intake, and gain of yearling cattle on different grazing intensities. J. Anim. Sci. 36:411414.


Cattle Foraging Behavior in Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula)-Infested Rangeland

  • Rodney G. Lym (a1) and Donald R. Kirby (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed