• Economic evaluation of spotted knapweed [Centaurea maculosa] control using picloram

      Griffith, D.; Lacey, J. R. (Society for Range Management, 1991-01-01)
      Spotted knapweed is the most serious range weed problem in western Montana. Although picloram is often used to control knapweed, the economic feasibility of the practice has not been evaluated. We developed a model to economically evaluate spotted knapweed control on rangeland. Model functions describing the dynamics of the plant community preceding and following treatment were derived from field observations in western Montana. Economic returns per management unit were calculated for 3 scenarios: (1) no treatment, (2) containment, and (3) eradication of spotted knapweed. After tax costs and benefits of treatments were analyzed for a 20-year period and discounted to the present. An economic loss in current dollars of 2.38/ha was incurred under the no treatment strategy when 25% of the management unit was initiaily infested with spotted knapweed and the weed was spreading to new acres and replacing desirable forage. After-tax present value of added AUMs in the eradication strategy was greater than the after-tax present value of added costs, 3.41/ha and l.99/ha, respectively. As site productivity, value of an AUM, and rate of knapweed spread to new acres increased, economic returns increased relative to treatment costs. In contrast, herbicide treatment became least cost-effective as knapweed utilization by livestock increased. Thus, economic feasibility of spotted knapweed control varied with economic and biologic conditions.