Sheep Love to Eat Leafy Spurge

Sheep run leafy spurge like it's a salad bar. The Eurasian weed contains latex, which burns cows' mouths; enough spurge on pastureland will drive cattle away entirely, but sheep eat the plant to the ground.<br />
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Leafy spurge can be catastrophic to grasslands for both economic and ecological reasons. It is estimated that the plant reduces the productivity of grazing land by 50 to 75 percent. It <br />
currently inhabits three million acres of rangeland in the U.S.<br />
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The Garry Nelson family moves sheep into neighbors pastures to help keep the weed from spreading. Many ranchers don't want sheep because of the added time involved with raising <br />
them, and they eat grasses that they'd rather save for their cattle. <br />
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Spurge can reach densities of up to 1,800 stems per square yard. Its deep root system makes eradication of the species extremely difficult. Roots are woody, tough, and can reach depths up to 15 feet, and lateral spread of up to 35 feet. Vegetative reproduction from both crown and root buds contribute to the weeds persistence. Even if the foliage of the plant is destroyed, the roots will regenerate new shoots. Ranchers are fighting the weed with sprays, biological controls and sheep.

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