Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Collared Cattle in grazing study on Santa Rita Ranch in Arizona

Cultural Methods

Targeted Grazing

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Targeted grazing has been used in urban-wildland interfaces to help protect cities from the threat of wildfire.

Photo by: Andrew Antaya
  • Written by Austin Rutherford, University of Arizona


    Targeted grazing focuses specifically on vegetation management goals, as compared to solely livestock production. Managing vegetation occurs via targeted grazing with the application of specific type of livestock (e.g., cattle, sheep, or goats) to accomplish one or multiple vegetation goals (Launchbaugh and Walker, 2006). To meet a set goal, many factors come into play including the type and number of animals, distribution of livestock across the landscape, season and frequency of grazing/browsing, and the duration of grazing. 

    There are many potential applications of targeted grazing, but frequently implemented for the management of invasive/noxious weeds like leafy spurge, yellow star thistle, and spotted knapweed, just to name a few. Additionally, appropriate timing, intensity, and distribution of grazers has been shown to slow the spread of wildfires through consumption of fine fuels, most notably in cheatgrass/downy brome (Diamond et al., 2009) and Lehmann lovegrass (Bruegger et al., 2016) invaded rangelands of the West. In steep and rocky terrain, where other vegetation management treatments (e.g., mechanical and herbicide) prove difficult, targeted grazing could be more cost-effective.

    Implementing target grazing practices can provide beneficial secondary products and income to producers. Some of these products can include wool, goat milk, sale of lambs and kids, and/or contracting the livestock for use on other lands. Mixed herds (sheep and goats, for example) and mixed age types (breeding females and old wethers) can help to diversify the secondary revenue streams, as well as the types of vegetation you can target (brush vs forbs).      

    Depending on the targeted grazers, producers and managers may also need special fencing (“goats go low”), herders or herding animals, additional waters, predator protection, and supplemental feed/protein. 


  • Dr. Steve Hart from Langston University with Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension discusses multi-species grazing to control Sericea and brush.

  • This workshop was presented by the Society for Range Management Targeted Grazing Committee focusing on how livestock and wildlife interacts, and how to apply targeted grazing to accomplish wildlife habitat objectives. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. John Hendrickson, ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory.


  • The Rangeland Analysis Platform (RAP) is an interactive web application designed to assist in managing and monitoring America’s valuable rangelands. T…

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