University of California

Sheep thrive on weedy alfalfa


Juan N. Guerrero
Martin I. López
Carl E. Bell
Brent Boutwell

Authors Affiliations

.N. Guerrero is Farm Advisors, UCCE Imperial County; M.I. López is graduate student, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexicali; C.E. Bell is Farm Advisors, UCCE Imperial County; B. Boutwell is Staff Research Associate, UCCE Imperial County.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 53(5):29-32. DOI:10.3733/ca.v053n05p29. September 1999.

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A 28-day iamb grazing trial during the winters of 1994 and 1995 compared lamb gains on seedling alfalfa with differing mixes of weeds and aifalfa. Commercial crossbred wethers grazed experimental paddocks that were completely weed infested, as pure as possible alfalfa stand, 1/3 weed infested and 2/3 weed infested. Lambs had the same weight gain whether in paddocks that were pure alfalfa or in weed-infested alfalfa. Weed-infested paddocks were able to sustain more lamb grazing days than weed-free paddocks. The weed- infested paddocks produced more total pounds of lamb gain per acre of land than the weed-free paddocks. Using lambs to control weeds in seedling alfalfa would reduce herbicide use and would enable growers to market weeds as part of lamb grazing fees.

Further reading

Bell CE, Guerrero JN, Granados EY. A comparison of sheep grazing with herbicides for weed control in seedling alfalfa in the irrigated Sonoran Desert. J Prod Agric. 1996. 9:123-

Bosworth SC, Hoveland CS, Buchanan GA. Forage quality of selected coolseason weed species. Weed Sci. 1985. 34:150-

Guerrero JN, L$oApez Ml, Bell CE. Lamb performance on seedling alfalfa with differing alfalfa/weed biomass availabilities in the irrigated Sonoran Desert. Sheep and Goat Res J. 1997. 13(2):71-7.

Marten GC, Andersen RN. Forage nutritive value and palatability of 12 common annual weeds. Crop Sci. 1975. 15:821-

Marten GC, Shaeffer CC, Wyse DL. Forage nutritive values and palatability of perennial weeds. Agron J. 1987. 79:980-

Guerrero J, López M, Bell C, Boutwell B. 1999. Sheep thrive on weedy alfalfa. Hilgardia 53(5):29-32. DOI:10.3733/ca.v053n05p29
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