Grazing goats: the eco-friendly way to control weed growth

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Photo: Brian Knox, Eco-Goats.

Settler’s Ghost Golf Course in Barrie, Ontario is one of the first Canadian courses to use goats as groundskeepers. It is more eco-friendly and cost-efficient, reports the Toronto Star.

The practice is common in parts of the U.S. but remains relatively unknown, said Brian Knox, supervising forester and founder of Eco-Goats, a Maryland-based company that works with industries, landowners and environmental groups to implement eco-friendly vegetation control.

“I’ve noticed that goats are suddenly becoming cool throughout the U.S.,” Knox said. “People are rediscovering how sustainable they are as livestock.”

Photo: Brian Knox, Eco-Goats.

Echo recently reported how authorities on New York’s Staten Island are using 20 goats to control invasive phragmites plants that are choking out the native vegetation in two-acres of wetlands.

Golf course officials say the goats are popular attractions and that their dietary preferences make them ideal for weed control.

But that may not always be the case.

“If you have a lot of desirable vegetation present, goats may not be your best management tool,” Knox said.

Still, goats are often better suited to do the job than machines, and when they are, it’s a win-win situation, he said. “It gives people a great opportunity to see some alternative ways to live in the world instead of assaulting it with machines.”

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