Use of livestock to control cheatgrass – A review

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Proper grazing management appears urgent in preventing or delaying further encroachment of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) into perennial vegetation on western grazing lands and subsequently gaining site dominance. In mixed stands with desirable perennials, livestock grazing might be directed to (1) reducing cheatgrass competition by concentrating grazing of cheatgrass during dough seed stage, providing perennials still have opportunity to complete their life cycles, or (2) basing grazing on the needs of perennials while mostly ignoring cheatgrass. When cheatgrass domination results in a closed community, alternatives appear limited to (1) managing as annual grassland, or (2) revegetation using intensive cultural practices. In conjunction with revegetation, livestock might conceivably be employed for “graze out” in site preparation and I or for selective plant control during germination and emergence of the seeded perennials. However, with these possible limited exceptions, grazing is concluded not to be an effective general tool for cheatgrass control.