Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The use of a herbicide as a tool to increase livestock consumption of medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae).

Abstract

Medusahead [Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski] is an invasive annual grass spreading into rangelands throughout the western United States. We tested cattle (Bos taurus L.) utilization of T. caput-medusae following treatment with glyphosate in two forms of its salt (potassium salt and isopropylamine salt) at three different rates of application; low (236 g ae ha-1), medium (394 g ae ha-1), and high rates (788 g ae ha-1) in eastern Washington. The herbicide was applied on April 26, 2016. A second location, northern Utah, was treated with glyphosate in the form of its isopropylamine salt at the high rate. The herbicide was applied on June 5, 2019. Cattle were allowed to start grazing T. caput-medusae 15 d after glyphosate treatment and had unlimited access to the glyphosate-treated plots for more than 85 d. The greatest utilization of T. caput-medusae occurred at the highest glyphosate application rate (P < 0.05), in Washington, with no difference between forms of glyphosate salt. Cattle also consumed T. caput-medusae at the Utah site (P < 0.05). Glyphosate treatment preserved the water-soluble carbohydrate content of T. caput-medusae at levels greater than the nontreated controls (P < 0.05) at both locations. The glyphosate treatment assisted in the increased utilization of T. caput-medusae by cattle and is a viable option for the reduction of T. caput-medusae while increasing the forage value of the weed.