View Full Version : Invasive medusahead weed threatens ranches in West

01-06-2011, 09:31 AM
Casey Wilber's grandfather first noticed some odd weeds popping up on the family's eastern Oregon cattle ranch about 30 years ago. It was a weed called medusahead, a spiky, grasslike plant inedible for both livestock and wildlife.

Now, Wilber says, it's all over the place and causing big problems.

"It's really been moving," Wilber, 26, said. "It's just getting horrible."

According to a 2010 Oregon State University study, medusahead is rapidly crowding out native grasses, and once established, it eliminates more than 80% of a land's grazing value.

Medusahead, native to the Mediterranean area and introduced to the United States in the 1880s, now covers about 1 million acres of Oregon and is spreading across 10 Western states with between 30 million and 76 million acres of public and private land infested, said Roger Sheley, an Oregon-based scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ...http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2011-01-05-ranchweeds05_ST_N.htm