Goat Grazing Program (Hollister Hills SVRA)
The Goat Grazing Program at Hollister Hills SVRA started in the summer of 2011. The goats are leased from a local rancher and are being used as a biological control method for the invasive Yellow Starthistle. Yellow Starthistle is a non-native plant that is taking over much of the rangeland in California. It flowers during the summer after all the grass has died and has no natural predators to keep it from spreading. The goats love eating the flowering seed heads of the Yellow Starthistle despite the sharp spines and will pick entire fields of Yellow Starthistle clean of flowers in a matter of days. The goal of the program is for the goats to continuously graze all the seed heads off of the Yellow Starthistle for several years in a row and deplete the seed banks. The initial outlook of the program looks good and we hope to successfully control the weed while keeping costs to a minimum by not having to use more expensive herbicide treatments.