Weed control with small ruminants: Exploratory evaluation on Senecio inaequidens


Jair Jesús Sánchez Valdés
Felipe López González
Omar de Jesús Sebastián
Aurora Sainz Ramírez
Carlos Galdino Martínez García
Carlos Manuel Arriaga Jordán


Senecio inaequidens; weed control; grazing; sheep; goats.


Objective: Carry out an exploratory evaluation of sheep and goats grazing in a temperate pasture invaded by Senecio inaequidens, as a means of biological control of weeds in small-scale dairy systems (SSDS).

Methodology: Crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fibre (NDF), and acid detergent fibre (ADF) were determined on pasture and Senecio samples. The effect of grazing by sheep and goats on the pasture was assessed by means of the height, density and soil cover of Senecio, and also sward height; and the live weight of the animals, daily weight gain and body condition score were recorded. Statistical analysis was by a 2x2 factorial design, with species (sheep or goat) and two grazing intensities at 28.3 or 50.3 m2/animal per day.

Results: height, coverage and density of Senecio did not show significant differences (P>0.05), neither did sward height. The chemical composition of the pasture did not show statistically significant differences for the assessed periods either. Animal weight, body condition and daily weight gain did not show significant differences among the evaluated treatments (P>0.05).

Implications: This is the first report evaluating sheep and goat grazing to control of Senecio invasion in temperate pasture in central Mexico. In addition, knowing the chemical quality of Senecio will allow decisions to be made for supplementation in grazing systems with sheep or goats.

Conclusions: The grazing of sheep and goats reduced the number of Senecio plants in the assessed pasture, which indicates the possibility of controlling this weed by grazing sheep or goats over longer-term grazing

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