Westside Pasture Calendar for Agricultural Professionals in the Pacific Northwest (PNW)

Final report for EW17-021

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $74,555.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Washington State University Extension
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Steve Fransen, PhD
Washington State University
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Project Information

Abstract:

This project was years in development but that time and effort turned into the apex of many team member careers.

Western Oregon and Washington (“the westside”) have similar climates, soils, crops, farming systems, and urban growth issues differing greatly from the rest of the Pacific Northwest. Over 2 million pasture acres and 1.1 million grazing animals lie between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. This area is experiencing increased numbers of new and small acreage farming. Unfortunately, this greatly increases the risk of pasture abuse by inexperienced landowners with little animal husbandry or natural resource management knowledge.

Through day-long workshops, the proposal project team will travel to eight westside locations and trained 260 Extension faculty, NRCS and Conservation District personnel, consultants, farm advisors, Master Livestock Advisors, and progressive producers about best pasture management principles. The featured resource will be the Western Oregon and Washington Pasture Calendar (“Pasture Calendar”). The Pasture Calendar is an innovative handbook developed by a team of specialists incorporating pasture management techniques unique to the westside. This easy-to-use handbook is designed for professional advisors for management, improvement, and sustainability of westside pastures.

The trainings will emphasize sustainability through protecting water quality, threatened and endangered species, and soil quality while reducing noxious weed invasion and increasing forage production. Long-term improvement in economic viability, environmental health, and social acceptance are expected. 

This proposal used the successful format of WSARE PDP EW05-12 and EW11-019 but was adapted for a single training day. Training materials include the Pasture Calendar, reference materials, pasture measurement sticks, and PowerPoint® slides.

Project Objectives:

Three major goals for the Pasture Calendar project are:

  1. Review, revise, and update the Pasture Calendar before publication.
  2. Introduce the Pasture Calendar to the agriculture community (agency, faculty, advisors, farmers) through four single-day intensive training workshops in western OR and four in western WA. Each workshop will be held at a strategic location, based on trainee needs and projected audience of advisors. We plan to have a Pasture Calendar trained advisor in every county on the westside.
  3. Evaluate knowledge and assess economic impacts of training pre-, post-, and six months post-training. Surveys will ask trainees to document Pasture Calendar use and identify strengths and weaknesses of the training as they engage in farm planning activities.

 

The objectives for this PDP project are:

  1. Significantly improve use, understanding and tools to agency personnel, Extension faculty and advisors on principles of grass production and grazing management principles taught in the Pasture Calendar.
  2. Provide single-day hands-on training at eight intensive, in-depth strategic site workshops using the innovative, peer-reviewed but not yet published, Pasture Calendar to 200 to 400 advisors with a western WA/OR perspective.
  3. Provide training management tools focused on improving habitat for threatened and endangered species through improved water and soil quality, reduced erosion, and improved vegetative vigor in pastures bordering water bodies.
  4. Emphasize to trainees that sustainable systems with environmental, wildlife and economic benefits are possible through active goal-setting, monitoring, and land management.
  5. Evaluate trainee knowledge gained using pre- and post-SNickers (Long and Fransen, 1988) methods, including projected economic impacts on small farm grazing operations using principles taught during training. A six-month follow up post-evaluation will be used to measure longer term adoption of the Calendar, it’s strengths and weaknesses and how to better use the principles of production, grazing management and ecosystem services for westside grazers.
Introduction:

The following was used for the agenda for each training event.

Single Day Westside Pasture Calendar Training Agenda 2017

November 14-17 in Oregon; December 5-8 in Washington

 

The Pasture Calendar is a publication which charts forage growth west of the Cascade Mountains through the year and describes management practices that can influence forage quality and quantity.

7:45 Register attendees

8:00 Introduction of project team and local hosts; pre-testing

8:10 Overview of Westside Pastures: “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” – Susan Kerr

  • Overview of current Westside pasture and livestock management; economic impacts and marketing

8:20 Getting started on the Calendar: overview – Steve Fransen

  • Why the Calendar important to you?

8:50 Pasture Calendar details 1- Scott Robbins

  • Overview of Westside grass and legume growth; western OR and WA MLRA Forage Management Zones; and of each Pasture Calendar Period

10:00 Break

10:15 Pasture Calendar details 2 – Marty Chaney

  • Working with the Pasture Calendar by Calendar Period and Forage Management Zone: environmental conditions, what plants should be doing, management practices to adopt or avoid, appendix tables

11:15 Westside pasture grasses and legumes – Steve Fransen

  • What are Westside grasses and legumes telling us about where they grow and how they’re treated? Review of common westside pasture grasses and legumes and best resources for plant identification. Species as indicators of field conditions and types of management.

 

12:00 Onsite lunch; Q and A during this working lunch; start review of greenhouse grown forage species recommended or found in many westside pastures – Susan Kerr

 

12:30 View greenhouse grown adapted pasture grasses and legumes – Steve Fransen

  • Special monitoring of seedling roots / top growth comparisons

12:45 Westside soils and fertility – Marty Chaney

  • Understanding and managing soils to keep them healthy and productive, and how to find out more information about the soils on a farm.

1:35 Westside grazing management and animal performance – Gene Pirelli

  • Grazing pressure, stocking rates, grazing management to avoid overgrazing, adverse pasture conditions for grazers, economics of using the Calendar for westside grazers.

2:50 Energy break (great time to finish reviewing forage plants)

3:10 Real-life westside pasture ‘situations’ and ‘challenges’ – Gary Fredricks

  • How to use the Calendar to solve them. Small group solution development followed by report to full group.

4:15 Final evaluations, wrap up and feedback – Shannon Neibergs

 

4:55 Safe travel home after a fun and educational day.

The Pasture Calendar consists of ten specific and sequential pasture growth periods for westside grasslands, separated by two week intervals and encompassing a full year. Each period is associated with six critical concepts:

  1. Overview
  2. Environmental factors
  3. What plants are doing
  4. Management needed
  5. Things to avoid
  6. Other considerations.

 

Understanding these six concepts on a year-round basis will help producers improve pasture and grazing management, thereby increasing forage production, achieving a positive economic return, and reducing negative environmental impacts.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Gene Pirelli (Educator)
  • Marty Chaney (Educator)
  • Scott Robbins (Educator)
  • Gary Fredricks (Educator)
  • Susan Kerr (Educator)
  • Shannon Neibergs (Educator)
  • Kellie Henwood (Educator)
  • Cassie Bouska (Educator)
  • Troy Downing (Educator)
  • Mike Fair

Education

Educational approach:

Our team used a very old, but tried and true approach to education and training ag professionals from various backgrounds, responsibilities, assignments, and training, we did a full-day face-to-face, intensive, all you can take, training workshop! Yes, we did use slides but the major supporting educational material was the newly published “The Western Oregon and Washington Pasture Calendar”. We did provide each trainee with a new pasture stick with four logos, e.g. WSARE, USDA-NRCS, Oregon State University Extension and Washington State University Extension. We did provide each trainee with a USB drive containing the Calendar plus all the powerpoint presentations and other supporting documents.

More than 20 years ago a core group of team members met, discussed, argued, wrote, and repeated this over and over again. From this the idea of the pasture calendar emerged. This team of NRCS, OSU and WSU specialists continued to work even when obstacles seemed to emerge. What we lacked was the ability to present these ideas to the target audiences, until WSARE PDP funding.

The success of this project, through educational eyes, was the coordination and respect team members had for each other and what we were teaching. Each team member is a specialist in their field and even through the team is small in number, we are large in knowledge base. The team jointly prepared the WSARE PDP grant over two days, while at the same time conducting the final editing of the draft Calendar document. The first application was not funded so we revised the proposal and resubmitted, which was funded. After funding we started having conference calls. About 18 conference calls, usually two hours in duration, occurred over the summer and fall. At the same time we were working with a professional editor who took our ‘good’ draft and made it “perfect”. The team established a timeline for developing slide presentations, media outreach to the target audiences, organizing eight host locations with meals, etc. The program agenda was so tight, with so much to present and so little time. our initial plan was to keep the trainees on site all day. This turned out to be a perfect call. We did use part of the lunch time to show live plants from different managements.

Preparing for the first training day. The team initially planned to travel on Sunday then start the program agenda Monday morning. We had second thoughts and traveled on Monday with the program on Tuesday at the first training location. That turned out to be a perfect plan. We had time to meet on Monday pm, prepare and organize. Tuesday everyone was early, everything was laid out and ready to go. All went smoothly and the only issue was saving all the clicker data from the 20 technical questions to determine pre and post-test knowledge learned.

After spending all day training, the team had to clean up the facilities and travel two hours to the next location. This is in November and December so it is dark and often raining on the westside in winter. We made to the next location, got fed and in motels. We had made the hotel / motel accommodations months before. Next morning the process was repeated. By Friday night everyone was very exhausted but many team members went home. 

We had two more conference calls between the Oregon and Washington training. The team repeated the same agenda in Washington in December. In Washington we had to take a ferry from Mount Vernon to Port Hadlock, which could have been terrible but turned out perfect.

Everyone realize what a wonderful opportunity this was for the trainees but even more so for ourselves. We had created this dream, this new approach, this new publication and to see it accepted so well, all the time invested was worth it.

Education is directly linked to and integrated with communication. Without complete and open communications among the team members and the team to the trainees, I don’t think the grant or time would have made an impact. BUT, with this constant and open communication, great things did happen.

Finally, after everyone returned home, numerous email messages were shared how team members felt and enjoyed the adventure we just took. It was an honor and privileged to work within such a fine group of ag professionals!!!

We published the “Western Oregon and Washington Pasture Calendar” through the Pacific Northwest Extension Publication PNW 699 in November 2017. This bulletin was provided electronically, along with many other related resources, and in hard-cover for each trainee. Trainees were also given a pasture stick with the approved logos of WSARE, USDA-NRCS, Oregon State University Extension and Washington State University Extension. Eight, single-day training workshops were offered, four in each westside region of OR and WA. Training locations started in Coquille then moved to Roseburg, Rickrell (Corvallis), and concluded at Tillamook in Oregon. A few weeks later trainings started in Mount Vernon, then to Port Hadlock, Olympia and Vancouver, Washington.

Learning Outcomes: In our March 2, 2018 report, we published results from the pre and post-tests, which are quantitative measurements of knowledge gained during the training for each trainee at all eight training locations. Participation at each location varied based on population density and isolation from broader resources. Our plan was to conduct a six-month follow up evaluation, where results are included in this final report. In that evaluation our team was interested in how trainees were using the Calendar information, what was most helpful, what was least helpful, if the training met their expectations, how responsive clientele were to the concepts and information presented in the Calendar and any other suggestions or observations they would like to state. A summary of this information is found in Summary of Comments from Six-Month Training Evaluations. One respondent suggested six month may have been too long as they seemed to may have forgotten a few details. However, the team was interested in longer-term use of the Calendar principles. Thus, in mid-March, 2019 all trainees were sent the final WSARE evaluation, one-page form, with just a few modifications, see Final Evaluation. We named this the 15-Month Summary Table and it is attached to this report.

Primary Action Outcomes: When ag trainees are captured in a classroom setting, it is easy to collect data on learning but each person back home has different responsibilities from different agencies and different locations within that region. We were hoping for greater response returns but also we recognize there has been a decrease in field and office personnel in all ag agencies and organizations. No response could be interpreted as of ‘no value’ but our team does not accept that ‘easy way-out’ explanation. We know these trainees as colleagues and peers and know they are very busy people trying to help landowners, producers / ranchers / farmers and community members improve on-farm profitability in environmentally sustainable approaches. Not only do the numbers provide support for a successful training program, represented by the Westside Pasture Calendar but so the comments offered by those who endured intense, single-day training on a specific topic that reaches so many areas in the west.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Training Ag Professionals on Contents and Use of the Westside Pasture Calendar
Objective:

Three major goals for the Pasture Calendar project are:
1. Review, revise, and update the Pasture Calendar before publication.
2. Introduce the Pasture Calendar to the agriculture community (agency, faculty, advisors, farmers) through four single-day intensive training workshops in western OR and four in western WA. Each workshop will be held at a strategic location, based on trainee needs and projected audience of advisors. We plan to have a Pasture Calendar trained advisor in every county on the westside.
3. Evaluate knowledge and assess economic impacts of training pre-, post-, and six months post-training. Surveys will ask trainees to document Pasture Calendar use and identify strengths and weaknesses of the training as they engage in farm planning activities.

The objectives for this PDP project are:
1. Significantly improve use, understanding and tools to agency personnel, Extension faculty and advisors on principles of grass production and grazing management principles taught in the Pasture Calendar.
2. Provide single-day hands-on training at eight intensive, in-depth strategic site workshops using the innovative, peer-reviewed but not yet published, Pasture Calendar to 200 to 400 advisors with a western WA/OR perspective.
3. Provide training management tools focused on improving habitat for threatened and endangered species through improved water and soil quality, reduced erosion, and improved vegetative vigor in pastures bordering water bodies.
4. Emphasize to trainees that sustainable systems with environmental, wildlife and economic benefits are possible through active goal-setting, monitoring, and land management.
5. Evaluate trainee knowledge gained using pre- and post-SNickers (Long and Fransen, 1988) methods, including projected economic impacts on small farm grazing operations using

Description:

The clicker data was obtained from the trainees at pre-training and post-training. The following are the 20 questions asked:

Pre and Post-Test Questions for Westside Pasture Calendar Training:

  1. Which legume is poorly suited to western WA and OR? A. alfalfa; B. birdsfoot trefoil; C. Crimson clover; d. sainfoin
  2. The best pasture mix is: A. timothy, orchardgrass, red clover, alfalfa; B. timothy tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, white clover; C. tall fescue, birdstoot trefoil, alsike clover, orchardgrass; D. Italian ryegrass, alfalfa, festolioium, crown vetch
  3. Which is NOT a detrimental effect over overgrazing? A. increase forage production; B. decreased plant vigor; C. weed invasion; D. increased livestock internal parasites
  4. Which is NOT an effect of well managed pastures? A. Improved soil fertility through manure distribution; B. increased plant vigor through stimulation of new tillers; C. increased soil compaction; D. reduced bank of dried fuel for fires
  5. The westside pasture calendar is designed to: A. provide a comprehensive understanding of turfgrass management; B. provide newer terms that are hard to pronounce; C. provide in depth answers to all your westside pasture questions; D. provide a working document on defining issues and management of wetsside pastures
  6. They say fall is the critical time for westside pastures, Why? A. Those people want to mess up my hunting plans; B. Because pasture plants finally cool off after a hot summer; C. because pasture plants produce new roots and growing points; D. because pasture can take any kind of beating after working hard all summer
  7. Forage management zones come from the use of MLRA maps? A. true; B. false
  8. Warm-season grasses predominate in the summer in western OR and WA? A. true; B. false
  9. Coastal areas in Oregon and Washington are generally warmer in the summer and winter than inland areas? A. true; B. false
  10. Carbohydrates are produced by photosynthesis and include sugars, starch and cellulose? A. true; B. false
  11. Which inherent site factor is least important for controlling grass growth? A. temperature; B. moisture; C. fertility; D. species
  12. Which of the following actions will help pastures start growing earlier in the spring? A. make sure vegetation nutrients needs are met; B. apply extra N above and beyond soil test recommendations; C. maintain a longer stubble height through the winter; D. use field in the winter based only on residual stubble heights
  13. Which of these forage plants are not highly productive in westsdie pastures? A. orchardgrss; B. perennial ryegrass; C. annual bluegrass; D. meadow foxtail
  14. Which of these forage plants tolerate overgrazing the best? A. orchardgrass; B. bentgrass; C. Kentucky bluegrass; D. reed canarygrass
  15. If you buy a 50 pound bag of fertilizer labeled 16-16-16, what nutrients are you buying? A. carbohydrates, protein, roughage; B. nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium; C. calcium, oxygen, hydrogen; D. apples, oranges, bananas
  16. How many pounds of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ar there in a 50 pound bag of 16-16-16? A. 16 pounds of each; B. 8 pounds of each; C. 24 pounds of each; D. 43 pounds of each
  17. Forage in phase 2 is usually not well digested because of excessive structural carbohydrates? A. true; B. false
  18. Implementing management intensive grazing allows the livestock owner to control the grazing pattern of the animals and recue the risk of overgrazing? A. true; B. false
  19. How we manage the pasture in period one has and influence on the yield of forage during the next growing season? A. true; B. false
  20. The two factors that have a major influence on animal performance are maturity of the forage and the intake of the forage? A. true; B. false
Outcomes and impacts:

Our project team used multiple methods of evaluation to measure results from the Calendar training. One note of caution within these data. Please notice the number of respondents (n) will differ widely from one evaluation to another. Trainees were requested to participate in these evaluations but this was not mandatory. In some cases people came in late or left early so the numbers are not static.

The first reported here in tables 1, 2 and figure 1 are those methods from WSARE. On a scale from 1 – 4, the trainees provided very high scores overall and for most categories. The exception was at Corvallis within facilities. This was a very long room, tall celling’s, with a less than adequate speaker system. All other locations were very acceptable.

Table 1. End of Workshop Evaluation – Scale from 1 to 4

 

   

Information Relavance

Presentation Quality

Instructor Knowledge

Facilities

Overall Quality

Workshop

n

 

 1-4*

 1-4*

 1-4*

 1-4*

 1-4*

Coquille

16

Avg

3.7

3.7

3.9

3.8

3.9

 

 

Std

0.6

0.6

0.3

0.4

0.3

Roseburg

24

Avg

3.3

3.4

3.5

3.4

3.3

 

 

Std

0.8

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.7

Corvallis

27

Avg

3.7

3.8

3.9

2.9

3.8

 

 

Std

0.6

0.4

0.3

0.7

0.4

Tillamook

7

Avg

3.3

3.6

3.9

3.9

3.7

 

 

Std

0.8

0.8

0.4

0.4

0.5

Mount Vernon

32

Avg

3.6

3.7

3.9

4.0

3.8

 

 

Std

0.5

0.5

0.2

0.2

0.4

Hadlock

16

Avg

3.5

3.7

3.9

3.8

3.6

 

 

Std

0.7

0.5

0.3

0.4

0.6

Olympia

39

Avg

3.5

3.7

3.9

3.8

3.6

 

 

Std

0.7

0.5

0.3

0.4

0.6

Vancouver

15

Avg

3.7

3.6

3.9

3.5

3.7

 

 

Std

0.5

0.5

0.3

0.5

0.5

Combined

176

Avg

3.5

3.7

3.8

3.5

3.6

 

 

Std

0.7

0.6

0.4

0.6

0.6

1 = not satisfied, 2 =somewhat satisfied, 3=satified 4=very satisfied

     

 

We think these results reflect the amount of preparation that occurred so on training day few issues emerged and the program agenda flowed smoothly. Note, were working with ag professionals who are intensely interested in the subject matter.

On a scale from 1 – 5, table 2, trainees from each state gained knowledge when comparing from the starting baseline to where they ended. Note the n difference between tables 1 and 2. Regardless, the team thinks these results have merit.

 

 

Table 2. Target Metric Measuring Knowledge Gained Start to Finish

 

Oregon

Washington

Combined

 

start

end

start

end

start

end

Count

52

52

84

84

136

136

Average

3.3

4.6

2.9

4.3

3.1

4.4

Standard

0.7

0.5

0.6

0.6

0.7

0.6

Using the same 1-5 scale all of the trainees will or can apply these training material results in their future work: scale 1 = 0; scale 2 = 0; scale 3 = 24 trainees; scale 4 = 67 trainees; scale 5 = 86 trainees. Overall scale score  = 4.3.

We asked 20 pre and post test questions that were answered with clickers, tables 3 and 4. Table 3 reports results from Oregon. Question 11 at Coquille was confusing so that question was changed in the follow up trainings. These percentage values show either increases or decreases (in red) for a question within a location. These questions have been shared earlier in this report. In many cases there were positive improvements in technical knowledge learned from the presentations. If a score were zero (0), this suggests no change between post-test from the pre-test. Oregon trainees came into the training with different backgrounds and interests. Tillamook trainees were a mix of dairy producers and agency / Extension. They deal directly with very difficult situations and they came to the training with a solid background. Thus, they has more questions with zero than any other location in either OR or WA.

Table 3. Clicker test results from Oregon trainees.

 

Change* from Pre-test to Post-test (%)

Question

Coquille

Roseburg

Corvallis

Tillamook

1

^216.67

23.33

^67.31

^70.45

2

40.43

^117.24

17.51

0

3

14.63

12.82

33.33

0

4

13.64

1.08

26.03

0

5

28.21

7.53

6.02

33.33

6

6.38

1.08

1.08

0

7

6.82

^40.85

33.33

^58.73

8

^113.64

^49.25

25.37

0

9

1.12

5.71

5.88

0

10

12.77

18.52

10.84

^78.57

11

ND

32.20

9.46

33.33

12

^85.37

36.92

11.94

29.55

13

^86.36

35.14

27.54

55.36

14

11.36

^37.50

^110.53

8.00

15

0

1.10

4.17

12.36

16

61.36

^60.42

^76.09

30.30

17

67.86

16.67

^67.44

^163.16

18

12.36

5.00

0

0

19

0

3.09

7.53

12.00

20

67.86

26.58

^315.07

^100.00

Red font = negative value

 

*Numbers are percent change of the percent of audience that got each question correct during the pre-test; they are not percentage points themselves.

 

^ = top 5 for each site

 

Table 4. Clicker test results from Washington trainees.

 

Change* from Pre-test to Post-test (%)

Question

Mt. Vernon

Port Hadlock

Tumwater

Vancouver

+1

^100.00

31.58

^105.88

^64.29

2

6.06

13.04

^88.46

20.00

3

10.98

1.09

16.87

13.00

4

0

1.09

2.11

6.38

5

0

19.18

2.25

23.46

6

0

0

9.20

1.06

7

1.06

36.99

21.95

24.00

+8

22.54

^46.67

^59.26

^58.73

9

2.67

12.80

4.41

6.67

10

0

7.00

11.11

0

11

^83.33

22.08

31.15

23.46

12

30.56

^163.64

39.68

55.00

-13

13.89

^50.00

43.18

46.15

+14

^120.83

^96.30

4.17

^60.00

15

3.00

7.53

4.21

0

+16

^60.42

6.90

^137.93

^88.68

+17

^100.00

^70.21

^91.43

^127.27

18

3.00

7.53

5.26

7.00

19

6.38

7.53

5.26

1.14

20

30.56

16.28

20.48

13.64

 

 

Red font = negative value

 

*Numbers are percent change of the percent of audience that got each question correct during the pre-test; they are not percentage points themselves.

 

^ = top 5 for each site

 

+ = questions with most gains across sites

 

– = question with most regression

There will be a six-month follow up survey sent to all 260 registered trainees. We will not ask technical questions, as with the 20 clicker questions, but we will want to learn how much they have applied the knowledge gained through this training to farm planning. How many producers were directly impacted by this training program?

We think that training, such as the WSARE PDP grants program, will pay major benefits for the correct audience and educational materials. In our case, because each of limited travel dollars in county or area offices, many ag professionals cannot travel far for training. That is the major reason why our team decided to go back to the old-fashioned method of bringing the training to them. We touch many more ag professionals through eight smaller trainings than one or two large sessions.

 

Post-Training Evaluations
Objective:

Six month evaluations

Description:

Summary of Comments from Six-Month Training Evaluations: June/July, 2018.

Basic Questions asked to all trainees:
Q1. How have you used the Pasture Calendar concepts?
Q2. Describe situations where the Pasture Calendar training greatly helped you.
Q3. Describe situations where the Pasture Calendar did not adequately help you.
Q4. Were your expectations met from this training?
Q5. How responsive were clientele to Pasture Calendar recommendations and implementations?
Q6. Other comments or suggestions.

Roseburg: 3 responses; 1 CD and 2 farm/ranchers
Q1. Importance of leaving proper stubble height after grazing or making hay
Q2. Testing hay and pasture quality
Q3. No comments
Q4. Three Yes
Q5. Had not provide the Calendar to others
Q6. “This was a very good course. Most of the material I had already heard about in Woody Lane’s classes and forage study group, but this was a timely and much needed refresher. Old brains need frequent revitalization”. “I am just a farmer without clients, but bale grass for sale in the winter to mostly pet owners and horse owners. I purchased topper shoes for my mowers to raise the disk blades and my stubble to >3.5 inches to protect the apical meristems of the grass. It shortened the drying time of the cut grass, it reduced the damage to the rake and baler tines and allowed grass handling without the tines scarifying the soil bed”.

Rickreall (Corvallis): 7 responses; 2 Extension, 3 NRCS, 1 Community College Instructor, 1 ag producer
Q1. Have not used Calendar. Yes, I have been able to refer to the information to help others. “Yes, I teach Forage Crops class at Linn-Benton Community College and I explained its use in the pasture management segment”. “Yes, for customers who have asked to calculate the AUM’s to determine the stocking rates, also other landowners were not aware of the 3in-4in height you maintain for pasture health, so having all the information electronically was really helpful”. “Yes, I have taught concepts of plant identification and management intensive grazing techniques in two pasture classes I have offered in Redmond, OR”. No but have plans to work on a pasture management plan.
Q2.”I anticipate that the PC training will help me when I am developing Provisional Ecological Sites for the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound”. Assisted with extension calls related to pastures. “There were instances where the class was helpful to pass along information really quickly and to utilize the information that was presented. It was helpful to have tool to calculate AUM’s for landowners in Linn and Benton Counties”. “Definitely beneficial and helpful in teaching my pastures classes in May and June. I will continue to use information gained from class in future classes”. Evaluating ground / pastures for a CRP application.
Q3. No use to date. Five no responses. “It did not help me AI my cows but was good for grazing”.
Q4.”I expected to get exposure and learn more about application of conservation practices, and those expectations were met”. Lots of information shared. “Yes, I liked that plant biology was also included with the material in the calendar”. “It was, I have had pasture training in the past. It was nice to have all the experts in the area. The Who’s Who, providing the training. I think that it was nice to have training from experts, but experts with years in the field is really training you just won’t get anywhere else. Having the opportunity to ask questions, which I asked a lot, it was very nice to have that”.” Absolutely, great information garnered from the class. All expectations met for learning about forages and management of grazing animals”. Yes.
Q5. “Clients had positive experience with the information”. “My clients are college students, so most may not see the direct application now, but the resource and knowledge will help them in the industry”. “I would like a better answer for the number of cattle per acre. Not “it depends”, that is not an answer”.
Q6. Location was a bit cold for some trainees. Several no responses. “I think working on the inventory tools would be nice, if there was a clear system that was easy, on a tablet, just making the actual inventory aspect of pasture health just faster and easier would be nice. I know there is a lot of time for inventory and taking plots, etc. It there was a system designed for the field staff that would be nice to be able to save time”. More plant identification.

Mount Vernon: 4 responses, all conservation district
Q1. Site visits with landowners in farm planning process. Integrate concepts and information and calendar PDF in handouts given at pasture presentations. “Yes, I help people most of the time with questions pertaining to pasture management and grazing practices for horses, so the information and concepts in the Pasture Calendar are vital pieces I use in delivering services to our cooperators in Snohomish County”. “Yes, Whatcom County hosted our own pasture calendar workshop. See attached promotional post card. Roughly 20 landowners attended”.
Q2. “Recent site visits on livestock farms in which the information helped me and the landowner with grass ID, soil conditions and management (past and present) effects on the forage base. Rating sheets for pasture complexity and potential production. Relationships between soil test results and the need for management changes”. “The concepts and information in the Pasture Calendar helped me convince a cooperator in Arlington to properly establish a rotational grazing practice and to hold her horses off the pasture until the grass was at the proper height for grazing. Once she understood the benefits as outline in the Calendar she became a believer in proper grazing practices”. “Now including Whatcom County pasture calendar handout as resource for clients”.
Q3.”I have always had a difficult time with grass ID. Not having the USB thumb drive on hand during the site visits kind of stymied me! Wish I had it on my phone”. No response or have not encountered situations like this.
Q4. “Totally, I think the information provided reflects a lot of thought and maturity in science from many years and I really relish that as it validates what we are trying to hold on to and pass on to landowners with livestock or forage production operations”. “The Calendar is great. Love the information and the details”. “Yes, the knowledge and tools I gained from the program have helped me communicate and covey good practices to all of the cooperators I work with on horse properties here in Snohomish County, and they have all appreciated the thought and professionalism put into the calendar”. “Good feedback from pasture calendar workshop”.
Q5. “They appreciated the calendar which I provided in the plan generated for them. They liked the grass ID photos from the USB drive, which I put on their USB plan archive drive that goes along with the printed Farm Management Plan”. “I would say a little more than 75% were better convinced to establish best practices based on the information and concepts I shared with them from the Calendar”.
Q6. “Many of the landowners I help have a hard time relating soil health and fertility with pasture or forage quality. I think it would be wonderful to see comparisons of low quality soil and pasture/forage tests with adequate or high-quality soils and the pasture / forage quality tests from said soils. A visual or chart of information combined with the relevant information. Something that points to the reality that soil health is like a bank account. You put in the inputs and take out some interest each year through grazing or forage harvest. The importance of maintaining this balance. Money put into fertility is not LOST, it generates wealth in plant, animal, water quality, human health and carbon sequestration instead of extraction of soil nutrients year after year. That process of extraction is poverty of thinking in many landowners and is passed on to society and our landscape / natural systems. We need tools to constantly challenge this poverty of thinking”. “Would be good if I had:
1. 1-page fact sheet with top “10” ways to use the Calendar.
2. Short power point that I could use to integrate into our existing education program.
3. Web site that I could send someone so they could real time see what to do base on where they are located”. “A little more hands-on and in-the-field examples. Otherwise it is a great program! Thank you!”
Olympia: 5 responses, 2 NRCS, 2 CD, 1 Fish and Wildlife
Q1. “I have used the concepts somewhat when offering advice to agency partners. I have use the hands-on training in plant ID to better understand local ecology”. “Yes, I used the knowledge the training provided during site visits to various farms. It gave me a great foundation to understand pasture cycles, as I had no knowledge beforehand”. “I used the pasture calendar itself to inform when grasses in my area would be growing their roots vs their stems/leaves. I work with federally listed pocket gophers; gophers eat mainly forbs, but also eat grass roots, stems, and leaves at various times of year. In fall and early winter, they eat more grass roots than at other times of year, and the pasture calendar is the perfect supporting information to explain why”. “I used the Pasture Calendar often in farm planning and for pasture management and renovation recommendations. The information was helpful for going into more detail about what is included in the documents that were created.
I really appreciated Marty Chaney’s portion of the lectures. I realized how important the depths are for soil sampling to get accurate results.
I really appreciated Steve Fransen’s portion of the lectures, and the clear understanding of the latest research about where sugars are stored in the grasses. It helps clarify the fall critical period to rest the pasture better, and gives me more talking points to explain to the landowner or farmer about why it is important”. “Yes, talking with producers and friends”.
Q2. “When making recommendations regarding setting up a local agricultural easement program, I was able to draw from my Pasture Calendar training when recommending spring deferrals of grazing so as to encourage native forbs and provide better wildlife habitat”. “Understanding the pasture calendar has helped me on multiple site visits explain to landowners the benefits of rational grazing”. “Just knowing the breadth of information that’s available to me through the instructors is invaluable. I know who to ask if I have more involved questions”. ”I work for the Thurston Conservation District and I go on multiple site visits with landowners each week. Most of the landowners I work with are small livestock operations, where grazing practices need improvement. So, I am always referencing the Pasture Calendar as a great resource and am referring to it for specific soil types and climate types in this region”. “Able to reference a physical calendar a producer can refer to”.
Q3. Two no response. “I believe that I provided at least a few examples in my post-class evaluation. Those would still hold true. I recognize that the purpose of the calendar is to prevent overgrazing, and you certainly taught for that purpose. There are other ways that the calendar could be useful, and additional messages you could be sending to landowners, especially in regards to managing for sensitive species while still not overgrazing, and still adequately feeding livestock. You are in a unique situation in terms of your frequent face time with livestock owners. Your messaging can help prevent future federal listing of endangered species, or can accelerate such listings. Letting people know that there are easy ways to provide habitat for (sensitive) species other than livestock, in a manner that still benefits their livestock, is powerful, and could ease the fears of many livestock owners”. “I am realizing that I would benefit from additional training of specific grass species in different soil types and groundwater situations. As well as definitions for when adapted forage species are relevant. The Pasture Calendar is great, however, for landowners; it can be alot information to digest and a difficult calendar to process. I think it would make sense to make some digestible version of the pasture calendar in a different format for small producers to utilize”. “Still a bit weak on identifying the not so common plants encountered in some pastures, in those cases I reach out to Marty for assistance and usually have an answer from her shorty”.
Q4. “Yes, my expectations were met and exceeded. The lunch and snacks were an excellent added bonus. I am still daydreaming about those homemade potato chips provided by the catering company. Man, those were good!”. “Yes, I feel like itg greatly helped me to understand the basics of grazing”. “Yes, except some of the lectures were broad overviews, especially on body condition and nutrition. I think address horses in particular would be beneficial, or how different livestock grazing practices apply to this area in general”.
Q5. Two no responses. “Landowners were responsive to the idea of rotational grazing once I explained the pasture calendar concepts”. “Landowners have been very responsive to my explanation of it and recommendations for implementation”. “ Most were enlightened, some resistant to change”.
Q6. “The level of detail in materials provided to participants is probably too much for general audiences. Perhaps you could provide Pasture Management 101 written materials either in hard copy or PDF format that would be appropriate to hand to landowners and other interested parties. Glossy brochures or pamphlets would be helpful”. “A follow up more indepth training would be great. Also a training on identifying weeds in pastures and what those weed can be indicators of”. “More details with trials. More details with varietals and soil types specifically. More detail on different livestock prescribed grazing practices and nutrition”.

Vancouver: 6 responses. 2 Extension, 2 NRCS, 1 CD, 1 Dept of Ag
Q1. One no response. “Yes, I used the information learned in training to help answer community member questions on proper pasture maintenance”. “Yes, we don’t work with many grazers, but I have a wetland restoration project in which we are using beef cattle to help achieve our goals for an herbaceous plant community. The training has helped me in fine-tuning the grazing plan. This is the only grazing plan I have worked on since the training”. “I have used the pasture calendar and other information I learned at the training multiple times in my work. As an organic livestock inspector, I go to several organic dairy farms in Western WA & OR where they are required to graze their cows during the grazing season. At every inspection, I open up the floor to the dairy farmer to discuss their pasture management strategies. I provide them with the pasture calendar publication to review and email them the electronic version if they are interested. We also walk the pastures with my pasture stick and use it as a tool. I’ve received significant interest in this resource and have enjoyed discussing it with several farmers. I think there would be interest in many of them attending another course”. “Yes, I have used it in my basic calculations for grazing plans. I have also shared an excerpted 2 page with producers (page 8 and 9) in accompaniment with their local forage suitability group”.
Q2. Two no responses. “When members of the public ask about pasture management, I am better able to answer their questions on when to allow animals to graze and why”. “I was recently at a new small dairy operation in Stevens County. The farmer asked many questions regarding pasture management for their Jersey heifers. I pulled out the Pasture Calendar and we went through it page by page. Although it is specific to Western WA & OR, the resource was extremely useful to her. I emailed her the electronic version afterwards. They would be interested in attending a course and learning more about their area’s pasture calendar”. “It is useful when discussing the need to keep pasture use to a minimum in wet season and dormancy, and the opportunity to graze more and with shorter recovery times during heavy growth periods”.
Q3. Five no responses. “There are many situations I have with producers who do not have suitable pasture for their livestock, but keep them as pets. This makes it harder to incentivize improved forage. It is more a case for emphasizing the advantage of having vegetative cover instead of denuded pastures”.
Q4.Two yes responses. ”Yes, the class was very in-depth”. “I had not seen the pasture calendar before and was not super knowledgeable in all the details involved with it. I did however know a good bit about intensive grazing management for cattle. My expectations were actually exceeded at this training”. “Background familiarity with pasture management so I can direct people as needed”.
Q5.Two no responses. ”One client I recall sharing information with was interested but not convinced she would be able to follow the recommendations”. “Moderately. The beef rancher is limited by logistical concerns and can’t turn his cattle out into the project site early enough in the spring”. “Very responsive and passionate. They would like more information for the Eastside also”.
Q6. One no response. “It is a little difficult to remember now, so maybe send out the follow-up survey sooner”. “I would love to go out and do a pasture walk at this training. That would be extremely beneficial to me and nice to get out of the classroom for a bit”. “Might be useful to include a field trip as part of the training. I think some parts of the training could be reduced and a few field stopped included instead. All day is too long to sit”. “Maybe shorter, more concise fact sheets or flyers for specific common livestock, soil and forage scenarios. The material is good info, but can be overwhelming even to the planner, and sifting it down further to the cooperator can be challenging”.

Coquille, Port Hadlock and Tillamook: No responses

Outcomes and impacts:

Take-home messages from the six-month evaluations:
1. Most trainees have used the Pasture Calendar, some more than others, and most have shared the Calendar with landowners or producers. Of those clientele, the information is likely too technical but for many they understand and accepted this into their operations.
2. Trainers need to find the best facilities for conducting the training sessions. One location was a bit cold, as mentioned by several trainees. They liked the food and snacks, which is important but that reflects finding outstanding catering services but our intent was to save time, which it did in the compact schedule.
3. Mentioned multiple times, trainees like to have refreshers, learn new information as they know how they will be applying those concepts once back home. Several trainees were teaching at community colleges and they used the Calendar materials in their formal classroom teaching programs. This was not expected and a pleasant surprise.
4. One group of conservation district trainees took the Calendar and modified it for their specific county conditions. That was not our intention but it provided the foundational basis which they, with more local knowledge, could apply for their landowners and producers. It proves that once something solid and positive is created that many different ways can be used to apply those principles, which was the case here.
5. Colleagues and peers have high expectations because they are also expected to produce at a high level. The Calendar was designed to enhance those expectations to where the impact would make a difference – on the pasture, land and associated environment. The basic principle was to teach overgrazing is bad but if no guidance is provide to solve the issue then it will continue forward. The project team had high expectation of ourselves, we had high expectation of the trainees and they in turn had higher expectations of landowners and producers. From the 15-month summary, it was reported one district appears to be doing annual inspections as part of their ongoing funding programs. This places the expectation squarely where they must be – at the landowner / producer level. Progress can be made when positive changes like this are implemented from a district to a county to a region to a state to the national level.
6. Many comments were made about the instructors. We had a super team of dedicated agency and faculty members. We liked each other, we worked well together, we were respectful of each other and we also like to tease each other a bit as well. This provides trainees that we were all in this process together and our task was to provide as much training in a single-day as possible. Many comments have been made for some continued training with numerous suggestions offered. The landscape in which we work today does not allow for this, which is truly unfortunate. Our goal was to create the Calendar so it will stand the test of time and will be a resource document that will be used for decades. After looking back at the time invested by the project team and the investment by the trainees and finally the investment by WSARE PDP program, this will pay off many years after we are all gone but likely not forgotten.

Post-Training Evaluations
Objective:

15-month evaluations

Description:

15-month Summary Table

Response by respondent / trainee (n-15)
How satisfied are you with? Not Satisfied Somewhat Satisfied Satisfied Very Satisfied
How well has the Calendar information met your needs 0 0 66% 33%
How well did the presentations establish the Calendar principles 0 0 33% 66%
How many times have you referred to the Calendar < 10
40% 11-20
27% 21-30
27% 39+
6%
Successes if you used the Calendar in your presentations 10% 10% 30% 50%
Please rank the Calendar materials and training workshop 0 0 40% 60%

Ranking by how trainee can apply the information presented; 1 not at all, 3 somewhat applicable, 5 a great deal. Raking 3 = 23%, 4 = 31%, 5 = 46%.

Comments:
“My clients benefitted from the teaching materials I received in the trainings. Class size in pasture management classes increased 50% from prior year”. “Livestock owners are becoming engaged more than ever with appropriate information concerning grazing and pasture relationships. Hopeful that Nutrient Management and time grazing scenarios will be more evident during the coming grazing / forage harvest season”. “My ability to better assist landowners toward soil health, animal health and resource protection through grazing management”. “It has helped me provide the practices of good pasture management in an understandable and clear manner”. “The calendar doe seems to be high level for some farmers. I wish I could provide more knowledge, but it’s a great resource”. “Stronger emphasis on nutrient management would be good”. “A better understanding of the pasture calendar, and how best management practices may benefit not only livestock but their environment, both altered and natural. This is helpful to me as I try to help our office find ways to work with NRCS and the Conservation Districts to develop and implement best management practices that may also benefit list species, or at least minimize impacts on them, while still achieving NRCS’ goals and the landowners’ goals”. “It has given me a better understanding of our specific growing patterns that I can then teach. It has specific helpful technical knowledge that has been useful. I always appreciate relearning or learning new tid bits of information on pasture management. I learned a lot from the training in Olympia. It was great to have so many wonderful presenters in the same room who shared their technical knowledge”. “Our farm planning team regularly references the calendar and training. The training inspired our team to update the way we approach pasture management and to now hold landowners to a higher management (with annual inspections) in order to qualify for funding. We also updated our educational materials using the calendar as a reference. I also started a quarterly newsletter as a way to reminder landowners about BMPs around pasture health and management. This training had a large impact on our team and we all agree that we hope this training can happen again. It would be a fantastic annual training”. “Will be presenting at three grazing workshops in 2019, which will likely attract 25-30 people per event. This will be posted on the webpage associated with Conservation on Working Lands, having to do with grazing for improved habitat and native plants. The pasture calendar will also be included in a 2019 newsletter circulated out of the extension agricultural program”. “A wealth of information, always a good resource for developing grazing plans or grass and legume identification”.

Outcomes and impacts:

Take- home messages from the 15-month evaluations:
1. Trainee response to satisfaction of how the Calendar met their needs and establishing the principles were humbling. Trainees felt the presentations really helped establish those principles because the training program was face-to-face, fast paced, tied together and well balanced. Because they felt the information met their needs, which suggests the Calendar will be used for a very long time, which is the sustainability the project team was hoping for.
2. One trainee has shared the Calendar more than 39 times since the training. More had shared it less than 10 times, which is more expected because it maybe too technical for some landowners / producers but for others it could be fully understandable. Thinking that more than 50% of the time that the Calendar had been shared is still a major accomplishment.
3. It is hard to take someone else’s composition and make it your own then present this to other groups. That was the essence of successes trainees had in using the Calendar in their trainings and presentations. We think that once trainees are more familiar with the Calendar that it will become easier for them to adapt the materials and concepts to their situations.
4. Trainees liked the Calendar and associated materials, both as USB drives, pasture sticks and hard copies of the Calendar. They came into the training with essentially nothing but many questions and issues back home, and left with many training materials and the knowledge they can work the problems through back home. The apply ranking from 1-5 supports this concept in 60% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied, similar to the 77% of respondents who stated the materials were greater than somewhat or a great deal applicable.
5. Comments touched on numerous topics with excellent suggestions. One group is planning on three grazing training sessions in 2019, which shows this program now has feet and those feet make up the foundation for expansion and continued growth. WSARE helped us plant seeds which appear to be rooting and as we show in the Westside Pasture Calendar that without understanding the grass root growth and shedding cycles, overgrazing is ensured to continue. But with understanding those concepts and principles landowners, producers, farmers and community members will realize the economic and environmental benefits of the Calendar.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Consultations
1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
84 Webinars / talks / presentations
8 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

65 Extension
60 NRCS
60 Agency
40 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

260 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
176 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

20 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

A project team of seven educators from two land grant universities and USDA-NRCS developed a new and innovative method to educate ag professionals on our newly published Westside Pasture Calendar. The focus of this training is to provide agency farm planners, agency technical personnel and Extension educators on the Calendar.

The most important impact data so far is again shown on table 1.

Table 1. End of Workshop Evaluation – Scale from 1 to 4
  Information Relavance Presentation Quality Instructor Knowledge Facilities Overall Quality
Workshop n    1-4*  1-4*  1-4*  1-4*  1-4*
Coquille 16 Avg 3.7 3.7 3.9 3.8 3.9
    Std 0.6 0.6 0.3 0.4 0.3
Roseburg 24 Avg 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.4 3.3
    Std 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.7
Corvallis 27 Avg 3.7 3.8 3.9 2.9 3.8
    Std 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.7 0.4
Tillamook 7 Avg 3.3 3.6 3.9 3.9 3.7
    Std 0.8 0.8 0.4 0.4 0.5
Mount Vernon 32 Avg 3.6 3.7 3.9 4.0 3.8
    Std 0.5 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.4
Hadlock 16 Avg 3.5 3.7 3.9 3.8 3.6
    Std 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.6
Olympia 39 Avg 3.5 3.7 3.9 3.8 3.6
    Std 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.6
Vancouver 15 Avg 3.7 3.6 3.9 3.5 3.7
    Std 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.5 0.5
Combined 176 Avg 3.5 3.7 3.8 3.5 3.6
    Std 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.6 0.6
1 = not satisfied, 2 =somewhat satisfied, 3=satisfied 4=very satisfied

 

 

49 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Success stories:

Dr. Tom Griggs from West Virginia University, after receiving a copy of the Pasture Calendar said on the phone this publication will become the template of all future calendar focused publications in the US and worldwide. He and others recognized the innovative approaches developed in our Calendar to describe timing of plant growth and integration of forage plants with soils, grazing animals and the environment. One other WSU person said they would adapt our approach in the Calendar for their own crop, cranberries, finding great utility to present complex issues. 

Recommendations:

Recommendations from our Calendar experiences:

  1. Start early
  2. Define the topic and clearly address the take-home messages the training event / publication
  3. Have strong team members who can work well together
  4. Don’t get bogged down in things you cannot control but focus on those you can
  5. Have tons of fun. This should be rewarding and memorable for everyone.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.