There are some baaaaaaaad weed problems in the Thompson-Okanagan region, and one couple in their 60s have turned to herbivores instead of herbicides to deal with the problem.
Donna and Conrad Lindblom have been running Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control for 17 years and have been operating from Kamloops for the past four.
They use goats – a lot of goats – to rid fields of invasive weed species.
“We want to cut down the use of herbicides because they have been proven not to be healthy,” said Conrad. “Goats are just as effective.”
They brought their furry environmentally friendly weed control project to the B.C. Hydro location in Vernon recently.
“We are environmentalists and B.C. Hydro is an environmentally sensitive company so it was a good fit,” said Lindblom.
The Lindblom’s transport their herd of 300 goats in one cattleliner. They have done projects all over southern B.C.
“It is a managed project. The goats eat the flowering weeds and weeds in the early seed stage,” said Lindblom.
“We move them along once we feel like an area has been cleared out. We aim for 95 per cent seed removal.”
The herd of goats is a mixture of male and female, meat and dairy goats and Lindblom hopes they have finished their feast by the end of the week.
The goats are browser feeders, unlike cows or sheep who are grazers. Browsers start from the top of the plant where the seeds are and work down. Grazers start at the root and work their way up.
Another reason the Lindblom’s roll with goats is because the goats digest 100 per cent of the seed. Sheep and cattle just spread it around afterwards.
The goats target invasive weeds such as knapweed, and thistles.
The Rocky Ridge company will continue to unleash the power of the goat until the snow starts to fly.
Donna and Conrad are looking forward to retiring one day. They are trying to pass down the industry in the region to younger groups that can sustain it.
People and companies can learn more about their de-weeding ways by checking out their Facebook group Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control.