Weed and Pest Control

Mowing

     The main method we employ to help control weeds in our pasture is simply mowing our fields regularly.  Just like your yard, grass can be mowed to a height of three inches without hurting it, though most weeds do not tolerate being cut so low and often will not seed after being cut.  Mowing the weeds also opens up the field canopy allowing sunlight to get to the grass which can then quickly grow and overtake the weeds.

Weed Wiping and Vinegar

    The second method we employ for more persistant weeds is to use a 20% vinegar solution in a weed wiper to organically kill selective plants.  A weed wiper has a tank and nozzles attached to large round sponges that literally wipe the weeds with vinegar as the machine passes over them.  We allow fast growing weeds to grow up above the grass so that the wiper only gets the vinegar on the weeds not the plants we want in the pasture.
Muskovy Ducks

The next addition to our natural pest control measures will be Muskovy Ducks.  These ducks will live with the cattle and their main diet is insects, especially flies!  They also help spread manure by searching for fly larva which keeps biting flies down and helps to more efficiently fertalize our fields.  Muskovy ducks are also called the beef of ducks because the breast meat tastes close to sirloin steak than a typical duck flavor.  They produce an extremely healthy meat rating about 98% fat free.

Natural Areas

     We leave areas of our farm unmowed and natural to encourage insect predators such as Ladybird Beetles,  Praying Mantids, frogs, salamanders, and garter snakes.  It also  leaves habitat for larger snakes, owls, hawks, and other predators of mice and voles.  We have a wetland on the property that we are re-establishing.  Many of our natural areas have to be managed to remove invasive species.