Targeted livestock grazing to reduce soybean aphid habitat
Researchers are looking at prescribed livestock grazing as a method for reducing soybean aphid populations.
Katie Marchetto with the University of Minnesota tells Brownfield goats can target buckthorn, a common woody shrub aphids use to overwinter.
“We are both looking at how much the goats reduce the cover of the buckthorn, the abundance. And also things like survival or growth, for example.”
She says after compiling the results of multiple studies, they’ve concluded using livestock to control a specific undesirable plant tends to be successful.
“And we also found that in a more general sense, using livestock to control invasive plants tends to increase the number of plant species that are in a certain area.”
Marchetto says while that’s generally good from an ecological perspective, areas of uncertainty remain. She and the other researchers point to further study of native and non-native plant species, and longer-term outcomes of targeted grazing once livestock are removed from the habitat.