A survey of 459 ranchers was conducted to evaluate managerial, institutional, and social factors that may affect the rate and extent of implementation of various leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) controls in a five-county region in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Ranchers returned 187 questionnaires. Weeds were considered a greater problem for ranchers with leafy spurge than for those without leafy spurge; however, even among ranchers with leafy spurge, there was strong agreement that other ranching issues were of greater concern. Over 65 percent of the respondents indicated that weeds on their ranch were a `minor problem.' Leafy spurge was ranked as the most important weed. Nearly 60 percent of ranchers felt that using herbicides, biological agents, and grazing animals on leafy spurge were economical; however, only 25 percent of ranchers with leafy spurge felt those controls were `very effective.' A majority of ranchers with leafy spurge indicated plans to treat their infestations with herbicides and biological agents in the future. Reasons for not using various leafy spurge controls fell into environmental, educational, and financial categories. Ranchers depend heavily on their county extension agents and local weed control officers for information on weed control. Information on the effectiveness and economics of various controls was most requested by ranchers. The responses of ranchers to various statements on weed and range management indicated that ranchers, as a group, are generally very concerned about weeds in rangeland. Respondents generally felt it makes economic sense to control weeds in rangeland, and felt very strongly that not enough was being done to control weeds on public land. Ranchers realize the difficulty in controlling leafy spurge, but indicated they are still planning on fighting the weed in the future. Financial and educational constraints to adopting and using leafy spurge controls could be abated through university and governmental educational programs and through cost-share or other financial assistance.


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