May 20, 2012
Lawn Mowing - Green Style
The NH Audubon center is going green. It maintains some grasslands that are important for not only conservation efforts, but also for teaching. It has hired beneficiary lawn mowers - cattle. An area natural beef farmer will be moving cattle in and out as the grasslands need them. Around here, golden rod, milk weed, asters and other plants will move into grasslands or any area where tree canopy doesn't keep them in check and try to take over(ask me how I know).
The cattle, apparently don't mind the milky part of the milk weed, the crunchy stems of the asters, or the ticklish hairyness of the goldenrod. They also don't disturb the ground nesting birds like a machine would although the timing has to be controlled for when eggs and defensless chicks are present. As an added bonus, the cattle fertilize where they have been.
The flowers that are kept in check in the grasslands, will be allowed to grow in other designated areas, just not the areas large enough to encourage eastern meadow larks, bobolinks and savannah sparrows.
What a nice win/win situation. The farmer gets organic grazing for the cows for just the cost of trucking the cattle between grazing areas, and the Audubon society gets free, nature friendly mowing. Okay, so the cattle do produce greenhouse gasses, but at least they taste good when it is time to take them to market.