Goat Pastures Go-Back Land

Go-back land

Go-back land is land that was once cultivated or/and grazed and that is allowed to go back to whatever will volunteer on it. There is usually a progression of species, depending on previous use. The progression varies with location and usually vines and woody and weedy species readily proliferate and some grasses come in. Often woody species will end up predominating, because of loss of much of the topsoil due to erosion which gives a competitive advantage to the deeper rooted woody species and also due to shading of the herbaceous plants by the taller woody species.

Because of their browsing behavior, goats are useful biological agents for the control of undesirable plants. Due to increased environmental concerns, restrictions for herbicide use and elevated costs of both mechanical and chemical weed control make brush control difficult. Using goats for brush control on go-back land to bring them back into production enables landowners to utilize the palatable brush as a feedstuff to produce a saleable commodity while suppressing invasive weeds. In time, goats will shift the botanical composition toward herbaceous grass species, resulting in greater forage production for cattle. Go-back land should be stocked as soon as plants leaf out such that they will be defoliated repeatedly throughout the growing season, without allowing them to store energy reserves in their roots. Plants without energy root reserves will eventually weaken and die.

Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. Pastures for Meat Goats. In: Meat Goat Production Handbook, ed. T.A. Gipson, R.C. Merkel, K. Williams, and T. Sahlu, Langston University, ISBN 1-880667-04-5.