Torpedo grass control - Cows? Mini cattle easier than full size?

We are South of Atlanta and have been getting enough rain that Torpedo grass is becoming a real problem in the pastures and it’s hard to kill with anything but Roundup which kills everything else. Was brainstorming how to control it organically and understand cattle and goats will graze it. Goats are notoriously hard to contain and I don’t have wire fencing inside my four board, so they will escape.

Cattle I understand will also graze it but I really don’t want full size cows, but a couple of minis might be tolerable. I have no experience with cattle, so I’m asking. Thoughts?

where most of our neighbors have horses/ponies/goats one across the street had miniature herefords … look just like the big things (I guess we could have done team penning using the miniature horses… only if we could find some trained monkeys to ride the miniature horses?)

But she would take her cows for walks

Not cheap to buy

Neighbor moved out to ranch territory last year, now has a small (in numbers) herd of small cattle, An adult female weighs anywhere from 650 to 800+

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Still better than the full size ones, but yes, stout things. Probably still less aggravation than keeping goats contained though.

never saw any of neighbors minie cows climb on top of their truck, but their goats did


never saw any of neighbors minie cows climb on top of their truck, but their goats did

Right? :smile:

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here the mini cows count as real cows for ag exceptions as they are consider Beef Cattle

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Will sheep eat it? They are easier than cows or goats. And you don’t have to shear hair sheep.

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How big is your pasture? The glove in glove method using glyphosate minimizes collateral damage.

No. Only cattle and goats, and just read another article that said they may even help spread it.

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It’s in several spots in the 5 acre pasture and a couple of large swathes in the 7 acre. Just wonderful that the only thing that kills this crap is carcenogenic. Quinclorac 75DF will also kill it but cannot be used on pastures for grazing animals. It’s used more on lawns and golf courses. A drought will kill it back also. The reason it’s moved north out of the Florida panhandle is heat and rain. So another unlovely byproduct of climate change.

I’d spray it. While grazing will prevent or cut back seed heads, torpedo grass also reproduces via rhizomes. Grazing will deepen the root structure and trigger rhizomes. Basically, you’re screwed.

Maybe this would suppress it? It’s hard to say if it’s graze-worthy.

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Mini cattle are a bargain right now. Go for registered long legged Dexters to avoid the dwarfing gene (chondrodysplasia). If you want the best priced animals, go for horned and black. People pay way too much for red polled and those are more fractious anyway.


I looked at the pictures. Uh oh - it looks like the grass that is growing in my vegetable garden along with my sweet corn. It is getting watered daily and fertilized and it has gotten huge. I can’t pull the crap up either - I think the roots are in China. But that is OK. The corn is about done and I am pulling up the barren stalks. Then I will nuke this grass and the bindweed that is flourishing with Round up before I plant anything else. I haven’t cut any down to see if the horses will eat it. I don’t see it in any of the pastures so I don’t know where it came from. Probably from old hay I composted.

I am very reluctant to spray as it will kill off not just the torpeodo grass but the bermuda and the crabgrass which is all growing underneath it. I will say that the torpeodo grass does seem to hold moisture and the soil. We live on rolling hills which slope down to a small creek valley, meaning the soli drains well. So it surprises me that this grass has gained a foothold in our pastures. I can only surmise it is all the heat and rain coupled with the pretty mild winters we’ve had lately.

Also, I’ve read conflicting reports about it’s toxicity to horses and it only being occasionally toxic to horses. There reference was to “fall torpedo grass” (panicum repens) in baled hay.

I really do not want any cattle with horns. Just too much of a handling issue. I like the mini Highland Cattle but the breeders don’t band/castrate or dehorn the bull calves, passing that buck onto the purchaser. So if you buy a bull calf at say 4 months, you then have to engage a vet to dehorn and band the calf at an additional expense and stress to the calf.

A local breeder has polled mini zebu/Guernsey crosses which are pretty adorable and takes away the dehorning issue, and I understand they have a mild temperament like the Highlands. Still mulling it over, especially given what hay prices currently are…

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If you let them graze it, it will spread even faster, due to it spreading via rhizomes (like bermuda). Mow bermuda and it explodes with lateral growth.

I don’t think your solution is a viable one.

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And I don’t think completely killing off whole swathes of my pasture with glyphosate and likely having to do that repeatedly, is the solution either. I kill it off finally and it’s clear for a season, but then comes back, all I’m doing is repeatedly poisoning my fields and likely everything on it, including myself.

I realize neither are adding cattle to graze it. But it’s getting mowed now regardless. Unless and until a scorched earth approach becomes absolutely necessary, I’m not doing it.

The other choice is going to be removing the horses and treating with something like Quinclorac 75 DF which is supposed to kill off the Torpedo Grass, but cannot be grazed for 30 days post treatment. That can turn out to be quite a while because it seems to also require multiple applications and I am not blessed with an abundance of land to just sit, so there are no good choices here.

You can reseed that area the exact same day you spray with glyphosate.

Just fyi. It’s not a forever-dead-soil chemical. It works on foliage, not on soil.

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I am aware, but it still kills off everything it touches for a while and drift is a concern. So I consider it an option of last resort. Particularly when you consider that one or more repeat applications may be necessary, so reseeding immediately seems a bit optimistic. Also, if it reappears the following season, same thing.

Arsenal has been mentioned as a possibility, but reading up on that, it appears to operate much like Roundup and pretty much kills off everything and is really more of a forestry agent. I’ve reached out to my local pasture management pro and he is looking into it as well. He didn’t like the nuclear option of Roundup either.

And then there is this: Weed Killer found in the Majority of People’s Urine - From WebMD

There are other polled minis, but the mini craze means that there are some undesirable traits and conformations as a result of selection for size rather than quality. Highlands have some of the most bizarre breeders and their prices are insane. How big is your land? Maybe it would be better to get just a few regular sized polled cattle.

If you go mini, it can be complicated. The market is unstable, which makes them hard to sell and worse if you have to take them to auction (which is based on weight rather than cuteness). Also, some butchers don’t have proper facilities to handle mini steers, which can make the slaughter process harder on the animals.

If you want pets, look for nicely tempered, standard sized, polled animals. Angus tend to be spookier, but Herefords have a nice reputation. Visit breeders. Some have range cattle, but purebred breeders might have some stock that was handled more extensively (think 4H heifers). You’d make some kid’s day buying an animal so they get their scholarship money and the heifer gets an easy life.

If you don’t want collateral damage, use the glove in glove method or get killzall and a foaming applicator. Getting a whole new animal species that may ultimately choose not to eat this stuff seems pretty work intensive and iffy.

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking quinclorac, triclopyr, dicamba, 2-4d or any of the “other” herbicides are even slightly less dangerous than glyphosate. Monsanto became public enemy number 1 for a variety of reasons, and their round up ready GMOs with them. Drive past a golf course even once and you’ve inhaled more commercial turf management chemicals than you can shake a stick at.

If your poison of choice is the additional workload and cost of more animals that might not graze this stuff fine. But chemicals are not villainous if used responsibly. I don’t know why you’re asking here if you have a pasture management guy anyways. I’m sure he’s told you that once aggressive rhizomatic grasses get established, everything you do to them that isn’t designed to kill them actually make them spread faster.