Conditioning Cattle to Consume Salt Cedar Tamarix sp.
Salt cedar (Tamarix sp. L), is found across Texas, primarily near riparian areas. Introduced in the 1800’s as an ornamental plant, salt cedar escaped domestic gardens between 1900 and 1960, invading native rangelands. Control options for salt cedar are available, but effective control can be difficult and cost-prohibitive. Sheep and goats will readily consume salt cedar after exposure at weaning, although not a viable option in many areas due to predation or lack of appropriate fencing. Study objectives were to determine if cattle would consume salt cedar at a similar level (animal unit basis) as sheep and goats, and to determine if preconditioning improved acceptance of salt cedar by cattle. Angus-cross heifers, Rambouillet lambs, and Boer-cross kids were placed in individual pens. All animals readily increased intake of salt cedar through exposure and readily consumed the plant. Other data regarding intake of the plant by different species will be discussed.