Categories: Lewistown, MT

The Montana Farmer’s Union used my training method this past summer to help three different ranchers teach cattle to eat Canada Thistle.  Chris Christiaens of MFU says, “It is working!”  According to an article in the Prairie Star, Christiaens says that the cattle kept the plant grazed to about 5 inches through the summer.

Like all educated cows, the trainees in this program went on to add other weeds to their diet.  In this case they started grazing musk thistle and bull thistle.  According to the Prairie Star article, eveyone involved was amazed at how quickly the cattle adapted to their diets, and they are looking forward to watching the trained cows teach their calves. (more…)

Montana heifer reaches out for a thistle

This summer I learned that cows do recognize the differences between people, and that this can change how excited they are to come to the feeding tubs during training.

I worked on two different projects this summer that involved different people feeding trainees over the course of the training process.  In Montana, where over 50 heifers were learning to eat Canada thistle, different volunteers came in on 3 of the 4 days.  In Alberta, Canada, the wife and kids fed them at first, and then the husband took over to finish the training off.  In both cases, trainees still came to the tubs, but they didn’t do it with the normal enthusiasm I’ve come to expect. (more…)

Main Street, Lewistown, Montana

I was in Lewistown, Montana April 25 and 26 prepping for a summer project with Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Lewistown NRCS to train cattle to eat Canada thistle.  It always helps to meet with partners before the project begins to take a look at where we’ll be working and talk through what partners want to accomplish, and to make adjustments to the process based on the needs of the land owner and the cattle producer. (more…)