MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. – Nearly 600 goats from Idaho are visiting Malmstrom Air Force Base, eating and ridding the base of noxious weeds.
The goats arrived June 17, and will roam and graze the base for approximately eight weeks.
“They are here to eat weeds,” said Donald Delorme, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron natural resource manager. “These goats will be feasting on six different varieties of weeds, predominantly in undeveloped areas of the base.”
According to Delorme, the goats are eating the leaves of the weeds which will hinder the weeds from developing seed pods. The weeds will use all of their energy to regrow themselves instead of growing additional seed pods, preventing the spread and growth of additional weeds.
The goats also increase the nutrients in the soil as they eat the weeds and their excrements help nourish the soil. This in turn will help the grass grow stronger, forcing the unwanted weeds out of the area.
Goats roam a field, eating invasive weeds June 18, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The goats are not slated to return to Malmstrom next year, but instead, a weed inventory will be conducted of the areas the goats grazed to determine how successful they were in helping rid the base of the invasive plant species for the past three years. Photo by Senior Airman Daniel Brosam
“Over the last three years, the goats have been reducing the seed base in the ground,” Delorme said. “Each year, there are less seeds and weeds and they continue to be reduced.”
Delorme said the goats can get into hard-to-reach areas of the base easier and are an environmentally-friendly alternative to use chemicals such as a weed killer.
According to Delorme, the goats are not slated to return to Malmstrom next year. Instead, a weed inventory will be conducted of the areas the goats grazed to determine how successful they were in helping rid the base of the invasive plant species for the past three years.