[nafex] Weed/grass control in strawberries - GEESE

Lucky Pittman Lucky.Pittman at murraystate.edu
Fri Jul 20 09:34:02 EDT 2001

The following message came across the Grazersedge discussion list, in 
response to an off-topic posting about 'living mulch' gardening(If I 
haven't discarded that one, I may forward it to the NAFEX list, as well).
Anyway, I thought this might be of interest to NAFEXers who're doing 
FWO is a (currently)retired dairy grazier, who also operates a produce 
auction, supplied primarily by the large Amish community in his 
locality.  I strongly recommend visiting his website - some insightful, as 
well as humorous, reading to be had there.


>* I would love to try and integrate poultry into the
>* system......Maybe Fred needs some chickens?
>I don't need any additional experience with chickens, and would like
>to divest myself of some of the experience that I do have, but thanks.
>I do have a grazing geese garden story.
>One of the growers/buyers for our Produce Auction has a Pick-Your_Own
>strawberry farm with about 15 acres of strawberries.
>Approximately 10 years back, they began fencing the strawberry fields
>with a single strand of high tensile wire about 12 inches off the
>ground.  They graze the grass and weeds out of the strawberries with
>geese.  The geese have some feathers clipped so they can't flap over
>the electric wire. They have no problem with the geese escaping.
>For some reason the geese do not attack the strawberry plants, but
>eat every bite of greenery that is not part of a strawberry plant.
>These fields are the cleanest strawberry fields I have ever seen.
>Absolutely zero weeds.
>The geese will eat a lot of grass.
>The geese remain in the strawberry fields all winter, and all year
>around, except for a month prior to the berry picking season.  They
>have shelter in the winter under hay wagons.
>Geese apparently spread the poop around pretty thin and it doesn't
>take long for it to disappear enough that the city people can crawl
>along picking berries.
>These people say that they have mostly the same geese that they
>started with 10 years ago.  I think they are mostly ganders.
>I think this will also work for blueberries.
>This story sounds so improbable...even to me..that I decided to
>research this a bit on the internet, to be sure I didn't imagine it
>in a mild heat stroke earlier this afternoon.
>read more at:
>Also, my wife, Jackie, just read this and she says the single wire is
>only 6 to 8 inches off the ground.  She says that at 12 inches the
>geese would walk under the wire.
>Kindest regards,
>F. W. Owen
>Owenlea Holsteins
>9430 Spencer Road
>Homerville, Ohio 44235
>e-mail fwo at bright.net
>home page http://www.bright.net/~fwo
>voice & fax 330.625.2369


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