Targeted grazing of thistles using sheep and goats

P.J. HolstA and C.J. AllanB

A Agricultural Research Station, Cowra, New South Wales 2794, Australia.

B Agricultural Research Centre, Orange, New South Wales 2800, Australia.


The diet of goats includes many plants not necessarily eaten by sheep and cattle. Hence we studied their use in control of Illyrian, nodding and variegated thistles. Goats ate Illyrian and variegated thistles in the rosette stage and all three thistles at the flowering/seeding stage. The amount eaten depended on the grazing pressure (both sheep and goats) and herbage mass (both thistles and pasture) so that season affected the outcome. Control of these thistles was achieved. Since goats ingest thistle seed it should be possible to significantly reduce thistle problems.


Plant Protection Quarterly (1996) 11 (Supplement 2) 271-273.