Biological Weed Control with Livestock


We all have foods we enjoy and foods we just don't like.

But how many foods do you eat now that you used to hate? For me it used to be olives... mushrooms... oysters.

And how many times have you heard "Oh... it's an aquired taste"

Well, livestock are no different.

They learn what to eat in the same way we do - from their parents and by what they naturally like the taste of, as well as the internal feedback after eating foods.

Animals are more willing to try new things if they aren't stressed out. In fact, when livestock are really comfortable around handlers, they can be 'placed' in a patch in the paddock and encouraged to chew on that weed (like thistles!) for a while until they've chewed off all the flower heads! How's that for an alterntive to chemical spraying! See a short video on this.

About the project...

Our project used Stress Free Stockmanship techniques and focused on the Weed of National Significance - Serrated Tussock. Please refer to the links below if you are unfamiliar with these stock handling techniques and Serrated Tussock.

Our project aimed to demonstrate the practical application of learned livestock behaviours to control weeds. Two local graziers implemented new grazing patters that resulted in greater consumption of Serrated Tussock.

Preliminary findings of this short-term project highlight the potential for a powerul adaptive new tool for landscape repair.

Here is a short video that explains what the project observed:

Project Report:

Many thanks to Bruce Maynard of Stress Free Stockmanship for producing the following project report & discussion paper. Please click on each item to view:


Acknowledgement and Thanks


Tub Training Experiment

Landscape Placing Experiment

Additive Feeding Experiment

Project Results and Conclusions


Criticisms and Comments on the Project


Background information:

For more information on Stress Free Stockmanship, see or view some of the You Tube film clips explaining SFS in action. You can also read about SFS the following Mudgee Guardian articles:

For more information on Serrated Tussock in the district, here are some more Mudgee Guardian articles...



This project has been funded by the Central West Catchment Management Authority and has been undertaken by Watershed Landcare utilising funding from the Australian and NSW Government.