South Dakota Grazing/Pasture Management Research and Tour

Final Report for FNC04-543

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2004: $3,162.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $6,297.00
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
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Project Information

Summary:

[Editor’s Note: This project was a cooperative effort between South Dakota cattle producers and North 5 Field Education Unit of South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service.]

PROJECT BACKGROUND
Producers: The cooperating producers will work with Extension staff in the leasing of land for the research plot and host grazing tours. They will assist in plot set up, the collection of data and provide testimonials to the effectiveness of the teamwork and research plot results. The names and addresses of the cooperating producers are listed below.
• Phil Raml is a cattle producer in Codington County, South Dakota. He farms 1,200 tillable acres and rents and owns a total of 2,000 acres for pasture. He calves out 375 head of cattle and runs a 500 head feedlot.
Phil Raml
46626 170th St.
Goodwin, SD 57238
Phone – (605) 882-3430

• Paul Brandt is a cattle producer in Deuel County, South Dakota. He and his brother, Joel, are incorporated in the farming operation, they farm 3,300 tillable acres utilize 1200 acres of pasture. They calve out 300 cows and run a 500 head feedlot and have 250 sows in a farrow to finish operation.
Paul Brandt
18013 470th Ave.
Clear Lake, SD 57226
Phone – (605) 874-8297

• Fuller Brothers
Brothers Dick, Terry and Wayne Fuller run a family owned operation in Eastern Clark County South Dakota. They farm 3,000 tillable acres and utilize 600 acres of pasture. They run 150 cow/calf pairs and also raise wheat, corn and beans.
Fuller Brothers
43307 176th St.
Clark, SD 5722
Phone – (605) 532-5123

• Gene and Wade Leddy
Gene and his son Wade are in partnership with their registered Hereford and Red Angus cattle herd in Grant County, South Dakota. They farm 500 tillable acres and utilize 800 acres of pasture. Their herd of 200 cattle produce registered breeding stock that they have sold privately in 17 states, Mexico, and Canada.
Gene and Wade Leddy
47296 153rd Street
Twin Brooks, SD 57269

Extension Contact:
Chuck Langner, Extension Educator/Agronomy
P.O. Box 996, 1910 West Kemp
Watertown, SD 57201
(605) 882-6300

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND GOALS
1. Project Goals
A combination of poor pasture management and drought conditions in Northeast South Dakota have led to overgrazed pastures with non-adequate fertilization and weed control. There is a trend among livestock producers to view pastures as waste areas instead of assets. The agricultural educators in the North 5 Field Education Unit, in cooperation with producers, have an ongoing goal to increase awareness of the importance of good pasture management techniques, as well as the importance and benefits of fertilizing pastures and weed control. There is a lack of replicated range and pasture research on the Coteau Hills of northeast South Dakota. The Coteau Hills has a unique set of environmental challenges associated with the area that are not replicated anywhere else.
2. Research and Educational Component of Project
Process – The Extension Educators in the North 5 Field Education Unit and cooperating land owners and producers will show producers the results of proper management by not only using limiting grazing, but also how to improve production due to fertilization and weed control. These areas will be addressed in the following manner:
• Local livestock producers will join in the cooperative effort by allowing leasing of land for the research plots, hosting a fall grazing tour to showcase the plot results, assisting in plot set up and analysis and providing testimonial in the results and effectiveness of the activity.
• Research-based pasture fertility plots – Fertilizer test plots will be set up in different counties. Each plot will have 16 different treatments of Nitrogen and Phosphorus rates with a check area. The four replications will be statistically analyzed. The plot area will be initially clipped and treated with herbicide for weed control to take out variables.
• Research based weed control plots – A weed control plot will be set up with different treatments of herbicides to show the effectiveness of different herbicide treatments on weed problems inherent to the area.
• The areas for the fertility and weed control plots will be fenced off to keep cattle out of the area and to allow for collection of samples.
• Research based analysis of pasture production and nutrient analysis – Samples will be taken from the fertility plots in June and August to analyze production throughout the growing season and show benefits of increased growth and production due to fertilization. The samples will also be analyzed for nutrient analysis to show the increased nutrient levels (crude protein) due to fertilization.
• An Economic analysis using marginal analysis will be completed to find the most cost effective fertilizer rate for the region.
• Further details of nutrient analysis, grazing management, weed control, production data, and economic analysis are in the results of research plot section of the report. Also graphs of nutrient analysis, production data, and economic analysis are included in an appendix at the end of the report.

[Editor’s Note: For copies of the graphs and other analysis that accompany this report, Please contact the NCR-SARE office at ncrsare@unl.edu or 1-800-529-1342.]

PEOPLE
South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service Staff:
The following Extension Agriculture Educators will cooperate with producers to coordinate the pasture tours, set up research plots, collect data and present information at tours and in informational publications.
* Chuck Langner (Agronomy), PO Box 996, 1910 West Kemp, Watertown, SD 57201, (605) 882-6300
* Kim McGraw (Agronomy), Box 10, 200 N. Commercial St, Clark, SD 57225
(605) 532-3681
* Amy Kruse (Livestock), 210 East 5th Ave., Courthouse, Milbank, SD 57252 (605) 432-9221
* Corey Maaland (Livestock), PO Box 350, 419 3rd Ave. S., Clear Lake, SD 57226
* Don Guthmiller (Marketing/Farm Management), PO Box 268, 300 4th Street, Hayti, SD 57241, (605) 783-3201

The following South Dakota State University Extension Specialists will aid in setting up the research plots and be co-presenters at the pasture tours:
* Leon Wrage (Weed Specialist), AGH 229, Box 2207A, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007, (605) 688-4591
* Darrel Deneke, (IPM Coordinator), AGH 239, Box 2207A, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007, (605) 688-4595
* Sandy Smart (Range Management), ASC 216, Box 2170, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007, (605) 688-5455
* Cody Wright, (Beef), ASC 212, Box 212, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007, (605) 688-5448

The following summer extension summer assistants were actively involved with clipping and weighing grass samples, processing of samples and all of the assistants are currently students at South Dakota State University:
* Grant County – Jenna Mueller (2004)
* Amanda Tuchscherer (2004 and 2005)
* Kaylee Brandt (2005)
* Clark County – Lyndsey Hausvik (2004 and 2005)

The following businesses were sponsors for supplies and lunches for summer plot tours:
* Watertown Coop Elevator – 2004 and 2005 fertilizer sponsor
* Deuel County Cenex, Wells Fargo Bank and Deuel County National Bank of Clear Lake, Helena Chemical and Clear Lake Vet Clinic – 2004 lunch sponsors for Deuel County summer plot tour
* Clark County Farmers Elevator – 2005 lunch sponsor for Clark County summer plot tour
* Wells Fargo Bank – 2005 lunch sponsor for Grant County summer plot tour

RESULTS OF RESEARCH PLOTS
The results of the research were in the areas of Nutrient Analysis, Grazing Management, Weed Control, Production Data and an Economic Analysis of the fertilizer treatments.
I. Nutrient Analysis on Fertilizer Research Plot
Research-based analysis of pasture production and nutrient analysis. Samples were taken in June of 2004 and 2005 to analyze production throughout the growing season and show benefits of increased growth and production due to fertilization. After wet and dry weights were taken, the treatments were put into composite samples for nutrient analysis to plot the changes in nutrient levels (Crude Protein, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Total Digestible Nutrients) due to fertilization. By showing the increased production and nutrient levels of the pasture grasses, producers will be made aware of the potential economic benefit of their pastures. As a plant responds to fertilizer, the nutrient value of the plant changes which affects its food quality.

A. 2004 Nutrient Analysis results
For the 2004 study, two plots in Deuel County were used. The samples were clipped on June 25, 2004, the samples were bagged, dried and reweighed and then composite samples of each treatment were sent to Olsen Biochemistry Labs at South Dakota State University in Brookings (composite samples of each treatment were used to limit cost). For graphs of nutrient response to fertilizer, see Appendix A. The results were as follows:
1. Brandt Meadow
a.) Crude Protein – levels ranged from 8.2% – 16.2%. When compared to the check, all but three treatments showed an increase in crude protein with the treatments of high nitrogen with no phosphorus showing the greatest response.
a. Seven treatments met CP requirement for 1,100 lb. cow
b. Ten treatments met CP requirement for 600 lb. steer
b.) Calcium – levels ranged from .35% – .58%. When compared to the check, the highest increase response was showed at 135 lbs. Nitrogen.
a. All but four treatments met the Ca requirement for the 1,100 lb. cow and 600 lb. steer
c.) Phosphorus – Phosphorus values ranged from .18% – .25%. When compared to the check, each treatment showed a gradual increase in Phosphorus.
a. None of the treatments met the Phosphorus requirement of the 1,100 lb. cow or the 600 lb. steer.
d.) Total Digestible Nutrients – levels ranged from 61.5% – 66.2%. When compared to check, all but two treatments showed higher levels of TDN with the highest response at 135 lbs. N and 0 lbs. Phos. None of the TDN requirements for the steer or cow were met by the treatments.

2. Lanners Pasture
a.) Crude Protein – levels ranged from 9.9% – 17%. When compared to the check, all but two treatments showed an increase in crude protein with the treatments of high nitrogen with no phosphorus showing the greatest responses.
a. Eleven treatments met CP requirement of cow
b. All but five treatments met CP requirement of 600 lb. steer
b.) Calcium – levels ranged from .35% – .45%. When compared to the check, the largest increase in calcium occurred at the treatment of 135 lbs. Nitrogen and 60 lbs. of Phosphorus.
a. No treatments met the Ca requirements of the 600 lb. steer.
b. Ten treatments met the Ca requirements of the 1,100 lb. cow.
c.) Phosphorus – levels ranged from .21% – .28%. When compared to the check, the highest response was at 135 lbs. Nitrogen and 90 lbs. Phosphorus.
a. One treatment met Phosphorus requirement of 1,100 lb. cow
b. All but four treatments met Phosphorus requirement of 600 lb. steer
d.) Total Digestible Nutrients – levels ranged from 59.5% to 65.7%. When compared to check, all but two treatments showed higher levels of TDN, with the highest response at 135 lbs N and 90 lbs. Phosphorus. No treatments met the TDN requirements of the steer or cow.

B. 2005 Nutrient Analysis Results
For the 2005 study, a plot in Clark County and a plot in Grant County were used. The samples were clipped on June 27 and 28, 2005. The samples were bagged, dried, and reweighed and then composite samples of each treatment were sent to DairyLand Laboratories in St. Cloud, Minnesota (composite samples were used to limit cost). For graphs of the nutrient response to fertilizer, see Appendix A. The results were as follows:

1. Fuller Pasture (Clark County)
a.) Crude Protein – levels ranged from 11.94% – 18.67%. When compared to the check, the highest response at 135 lbs. N, 90 lbs. P.
a. All treatments met the CP requirement of the 600 lb steer and all but two met the requirements of the 1,100 lb. cow.
b.) Calcium – levels ranged from .26% – .54%. When compared to the check, the highest response was at 45 lbs. N, 90 lbs. Phosphorus.
a. Eight treatments met the Ca requirement of the 1,100 lb. cow
b. Two treatments met the Ca requirement of the 600 lb. steer
c.) Phosphorus – levels ranged from .28% – .42%. When compared to the check the highest response was at 135 lb. N, 90 lbs. Phosphorus.
a. All treatments met the Phos requirement of the 1,100 lb. cow.
b. All treatments met the requirement of the 600 lb. steer.
d.) Total Digestible Nutrients – levels ranged from 60.45 to 63.08 and no treatments met the TDN requirements of the cow or steer.

2. Leddy Pasture (Grant County)
a.) Crude Protein – levels ranged from 9.52% – 15.35%. When compared to the check, the highest response was at 135 lbs N, O Phos; and 135 lbs N, 90 lbs N.
a. Seven treatments met the CP requirement of the 1,100 lb. cow
b. All but five treatments met the CP requirement of the 600 lb. steer
b.)Calcium – levels ranged from .15% – .5%. When compared to the check, the highest response was at 0 lbs. N, 90 lbs. Phoshorus; and 90 lbs. N, 90 lbs. Phoshorus.
a. Three treatments met the Ca requirement of the 1,100 lb. cow.
b. Three treatments met the Ca requirement of the 600 lb. steer
c.) Phosphorus – levels ranged from .25% – .37%. When compared to the check, the highest response was at 135 lbs. N and 90 lbs. Phos.
a. Eleven treatments met the Phos requirement of the 1100 lb cow.
b. All treatments met the requirement of the 500 lb steer
d). Total Digestible Nutrients – levels ranged from 57.73 to 60.06 and none of the treatments met the TDN requirements of the steer or cow.

Notes on Nutrient Analysis
• For the clipping process, a round frame, 0.96 square feet, was used and the current year’s growth was clipped. Each treatment was put into a paper bag, labeled and weighed. These weights were used in production data and then composite samples of each fertilizer treatment were made for nutrient analysis.
• In the 2004 study, it should be noted that the Brandt Pasture and Lanners Meadow sites were located in Deuel County within five miles of each other. The nutrient analysis on each plot showed the fertilizer treatments reacting very similar on the basis of crude protein. These comparisons show that the plots had similar rainfall conditions, soil types and plant populations.
• In the 2005 study, the Fuller Plot was located in Clark County and the Leddy Plot was located in Grant County. The Fuller Plot showed a higher response in nutrients that the Leddy Plot; the plots were located 100 miles apart in different geographical locations and contained different plant species. These comparisons show that different plant species respond differently to fertilizer applications and that different locations have differing soil types and weather patterns which leads to differing responses.
• The nutrient which responded most dramatically to the fertilizer treatments was Crude Protein. Calcium, Phosphorus and Total Digestible Nutrients also showed increased response to fertilizer.
• In the nutrient requirements, the most dramatic response was in Crude Protein. In many cases, the higher levels of CP in the grass met the requirements of the steer and cow. In the case of TDN, the response varied and didn’t meet the requirements of the steer or cow. In the case of Calcium and Phosphorus the response varied as well and several treatments met the requirements of both the steer and cow.
• It should be noted that the nutrient requirements were of an 1100 cow nursing a calf and that of a 600 pound steer gaining 2.5 pounds a day.

II. Grazing Management
Grazing management and the importance of environmentally friendly practices to sustain our rangeland information was covered on the plot tour. By using the results of the research project, the different levels of production were measured and emphasis was placed on grazing management being an integral part of taking care of our pastures. Just fertilizing to the maximum amount of production is not the answer. Plant development and growth principles were also covered to provide back ground for grass biological potential. Moderation of fertilizer and stocking rate were shown to have a positive effect on the grass land production. Weed control through competition was also emphasized with the implementation of light stocking rates. Grass evolution to current status was also covered to provide understanding of forage production. Measuring current production to determine stocking rates was also a point of discussion to help to manage our grasslands at a higher level. Rotational grazing practices that utilize rest periods for the forage may increase production of both cattle and grass, were covered in our pasture fertilizer experiments. The importance of plant species diversity to range land, was discussed along with wild life sightings being a good indicator of grazing and pasture management. Matching livestock to the resources in terms of time of calving and reproductive efficiency, were also brought up to emphasize coordinating highest forage production with highest animal requirements. Nutrient partitioning of both livestock and grass were brought up to increase the efficient management of our grasslands.

III. Weed Control
The agricultural Extension Educators in the North 5 Field Education Unit in cooperation with producers have an ongoing goal to increase the awareness of the importance of good pasture management techniques, the importance and benefits of fertilizing pastures and proper weed control.

While the majority of our grant work consists of demonstrating the benefits of fertilizing pastures the importance of weed control thru identification and proper timing of control also is stressed. With the trend among livestock producers to view pastures as waste areas instead of assets, the proper weed control is often neglected. This allows high populations of weeds to build up in pastures reducing moisture decreasing forage quality and reducing profitability. Producers not practicing good weed control in their pastures also add to the spread of noxious weeds.

During our first year of the project, the weeds in the fertility plots were hand removed to remove the variability. The pasture was relatively free from large patches of weeds. At the fall plot tours that were held, the importance of proper timing and identification were discussed. Tour participants were given a plant identification quiz containing twelve weeds, both noxious and problem pasture weeds. On average, participants needed assistance correctly identifying four of the twelve weeds. Biennial thistles and weeds not locally problems were more difficult for the participants to properly identify.

Taking advantage of opportunities that provide some sort of control, whether it be clipping or spraying in the spring with a heavier spraying in the fall or vise versa was also discussed.
The second year of our project, one of our plots was set in a pasture that had been overgrazed the last few years. Being overgrazed had allowed for weeds to move in and the pastures as well as the plots were sprayed in early summer. This again was to take out one of the variables in the fertility plots.

During the plot tours held in the fall, the importance of not only controlling weeds, but also managing pasture to prevent weed establishment was stressed. With the work load on farms and ranches in the spring the opportune time to control certain weed species also is the opportune time to be working on many other projects. Missing that opportunity can cause an economic loss down the road with added time needed for controlling, spray costs, reduce forage quantity and quality. Participants were shown when the opportune times are for controlling different weeds as well as other times that may work into their operations and still allow them to work towards controlling the weeds.

Also stressed was the use of taking advantage of spot treating pastures instead of spraying the entire field. Many of the pastures still have native forbs and grasses in them that can be beneficial to the pasture’s production. Spot treating problem areas can be more economical and at times be applied at a timelier manner, due to the minimum equipment and time often required.

Producers’ thoughts on treating their pastures like an asset instead of a waste land are starting to change for some. Demonstrations and farm applications are one way that producers can see that managing their pastures can be to their advantage. While this project will not change every producers mind, it is a start in the right direction. With our continued work on proper pasture management and visiting with other local producers it is our goal that producers will look at pastures as benefit to their operation

IV. Production Data
Producers know that they have gotten better production by putting nitrogen fertilizer on pastures. However, they didn’t know what level of nitrogen was giving them the most benefit. There was very little phosphorous work done in South Dakota and no data from Northeastern South Dakota. Because crop fields were calling for more and more phosphorous application in the Coteau Region in Northeast South Dakota, we put together a research plot that took both nitrogen and phosphorous into consideration at different rates. All of the plots were mowed and raked in the early spring to take away any dead tissue or other residue off of the plots. We also put the plots in different counties so that it would be more assessable to more producers. In the plots in 2004 they were in Codington and Deuel and in 2005 in Grant and Clark Counties.

We had 16 treatments with four replications in a randomized block design. All of the data was run against the check, which had no fertilizer, but otherwise treated as all of the other treatments.

Soil tests were taken on each pasture prior to fertilization. The levels were as follows:

Producer: pH, N, P (Olsen), K
Raml: 6.2, 11, 3, 267
Lanners: 6.5, 21, 4, 355
Brandt: 6.8, 14, 3, 197
Fullers: 7.4, 19, 3, 630
Leddy: 6.5, 18, 5, 621

In 2004, we had had three sites (Raml, Brandt, and Lanners) that we had plots on. Of the three sites, one (Raml) we could not use the data on due to unforeseen errors. However, that site was still very beneficial as we did hold an educational plot tour as there were visual differences and the Range Management Class from South Dakota University used this plot for their field class.

As was expected, there was a definite advantage to using nitrogen on both plots. Both sites had a positive linear correlation with the increased amount of nitrogen applied to the amount of forage taken off. However, as we added the phosphorous at the different levels, we started to see significant differences.

At the Brandt site, we saw a significant increase in forage yield as we added the 30 pounds of phosphorous. As we applied 60 pounds we seemed to maximize our yield and saw very little difference as we went to the 90 pounds. Even on the zero level on nitrogen, as we added the phosphorous, we were seeing a significant effect by adding the phosphorous. The economics portion will discussed later. The data is later in the report titled ‘Brandt Site 2004’. The Brandt site was a meadow, which was now used for hay. There was no grazing on this plot the previous year.

The Lanners site was a pasture that had been over grazed. Data is reported in graph ‘Lanners Site 2004’ (Appendix A). As we started to add phosphorous to the different nitrogen rates we did see an increase in forage. When compared to the check, the 30 pounds had no significant difference, but when the check was compared to the 60 and 90 pounds of phosphorous, we did see a significant increase in forage production. There is an outlier at 2005 at 45-0 rate that cannot be explained.

In 2005, we had sites at Fullers and Leddys as well as we took samples off of the Lanners and Brandt site to see what the results would be on the second year. We wanted to check if there was an advantage the second growing season due to the fertilizer and also if the production would increase due to not grazing an over-grazed pasture for one year. The Fuller and Leddy plots showed a positive increase in forage production due to the nitrogen.

As we looked at second year data ‘Brandt Site 2005’ (graph in Appendix A) to see if there was any advantages the second year of the study without adding any fertilizer. The production was fairly level over the plot. The forage production seemed to stay at the same level as the fertilized plots the previous year. The pasture seemed to benefit by not taking off the forage, even though it wasn’t over-grazed, by comparing the check in 2004 to the check in 2005.
The data from the second year on the ‘Lanners site 2005’ (Appendix A) plot seemed to follow that of the Brandt plot. It was pretty much level over both years, but again it did show an increase due to not taking the forage off for a year. Resting an over-grazed pasture for a year definitely showed an advantage.

The Fuller site was also over-grazed. This plot also showed an increase in production as we added the phosphorous. Visual observations showed the early re-growth on the phosphorous plots had more leaf blades. At the 30-pound phosphorous rate showed a strong, positive linear correlation with the increase of nitrogen to the increase in forage yield. In the plots that did not have any phosphorous, we had a good increase at the 45 pounds of N, but then it leveled off. However, as we added the phosphorous, the higher nitrogen rates made more of a positive impact on the forage yield.

The Leddy site was a well-managed pasture that hadn’t been fertilized. We saw a large increase as the nitrogen was added, especially at the 45 and 135 pound rates. Even though there was significant increase in forage production as phosphorous was added at each level, this plot leveled off at the 90 pound rate of nitrogen.

V. Economic Analysis of Fertilizer Treatments
One of the concerns producers have had in the past was did they get an economic return from pasture/range and hay land in northeast South Dakota. Much research has been completed in other parts of the South Dakota and economic returns are not discussed. With this study, the data was utilized and the cost of the fertilizer was looked at each level and subtracted this from the increased grass production over the check to get a net return. Each data level was compared back to the check.

When comparing the economic returns on an AUM basis, dry matter weights were used from the plots and 750 pounds of dry matter per AUM. When comparing the clipping weights to the price of hay, I started with the wet weight and converted it to dry hay to compare with purchased hay.

Also part of the discussion included grazing efficiency. Most range recommendations in central and western South Dakota use 25 to 30% harvest efficiency and in northeast South Dakota they often use up to 50% for continuously grazed pastures or higher with rotational grazing because of rainfall. This decision directly affects the economics so, I put together a spreadsheet that included fertilizer prices, hay and $/AUM, as well as harvest efficiency. The 2004 statistics were run on the first year at this time.

In general, in 2004, the hay meadow using $70 a ton hay, 34 cent a pound for nitrogen, and 26 cents per pound for phosphorus, and 85% harvest efficiency, showed the best returns using the recommended fertilizer rate based on the soil test which was 90 pounds of Nitrogen and 60 pounds of phosphorus with a net return of over $35 per acre!

In 2004, the Lanners continuously-grazed pasture did not show a positive return over the check. When calculating these returns, I used $23 per AUM (which is the rate for northeast South Dakota) I also compared the check on a 18% wet basis to the $70 per ton hay which showed a positive net return of over $32 per acre.
Because of this, I also took a look at the protein values for each fertilized plot compared to the check to see if there were additional positive returns. When I included a value for protein on the Lanners pasture for 2004, the economics changed. I used $90 a ton for DDG’s and 30% protein as a protein source. That worked out to 16 cents per pound of protein. I then took the pounds of hay and multiplied by the percent protein in at each fertility level and used the 16 cents per pound protein to get a value. Again each was compared to the check and it improved the economics so that there were additional statistical returns. This increased grass value should result in increased calf gains. The best statistical net return over the check was a positive $94 per acre for 135 pounds of nitrogen and 60 pounds of phosphorus. There were positive returns for all high nitrogen plots.

There was more variability in the continuously-grazed plot because it was continuously grazed, so we decided to take plot data a second year without additional fertilizer to see if there was additional economic return. This indeed happened, but also there was an increase in the check that we speculate was the rest for a year.

The other issues that are listed above are the protein, calcium, and phosphorus requirements.
Two additional plots were completed in 2005 that were both pastures with the Fuller pasture heavily grazed and the Leddy pasture with excellent management and grass plant health. Both plots saw an economic net return over the check. Statistics are yet to be run on these plots to look at statistical differences!

Enclosed with the report on CD with the MS Excel spreadsheets.

[Editor’s Note: Please contact the NCR-SARE office at ncrsare@unl.edu or 1-800-529-1342 if you would like to see these materials.]

DISCUSSION
A. What was learned from the grant? Production increased due to fertilizer application, this was an expected result. It was discovered that plant specie and geographic location will affect the growth and nutrient analysis due to fertilizer application.
B. How has this affected your farm or ranch operation? With producers who were already fertilizing pastures, the research gave them a better idea of how much fertilizer to use and the returns in production, nutrient quality and pounds of calf from using fertilizer. For producers who have not fertilized pastures in the past, this project showed them the benefits and returns from using fertilizer.
C. Identified Barrier was overcome. There had been a barrier in use of fertilizer as producers were viewing pastures as a waste area instead of an asset. By showing producers that fertilizing will increase not only production but also nutrient quality of plants the producer can be made aware of the possibility of putting more pounds on the calf while the calf is in the pasture. Also in the Coteau Hills land system it was show that the addition of phosphorus definitely increased grass production.
D. Advantages. Knowledge of plant response and return on the dollar of fertilizer application is of great value to producers. By having one on one contact with producers who participated in the project, the extension educators were made aware and are now able to asses other needs in the areas of livestock production and pasture management in the area.
E. Disadvantages. This type of research project is very time consuming.
F. Knowledge shared with other producers. By using the summer plot tours as a teaching format, producers were able to learn about the project and results in a hands on learning format and visual component of the project was very effective in learning. The extension offices have received many calls of interest in the plots and the results of the project.

PROJECT IMPACTS
A. Economic Impacts. with the higher price of land rents, producers can utilize their pastures more fully. Producers were made aware of the importance of gaining more value from pasture production in both hay and beef production and in better weed control practices.
B. Environmental Impacts. Better grazing management techniques among producers will lead to less overgrazing and less erosion of land. Non overgrazed pastures will provide more snow cover during the winter and more moisture for spring growth.
C. Social Impacts. Increased awareness among producers that pastures are viewed as assets instead of waste areas. Cooperation among neighbors was increased as the land owners of the plots share the results with their neighbors and interest is raised in pasture management.

OUTREACH
See Appendix B for news releases and photos
A. Publicity. News releases of plot tours were in local and regional papers in a six county area. Radio publicity in the form of public service announcements and interviews were used to advertise plot tours and raise awareness of grazing management and the economic and production gains from fertilizer application.
B. Attendance. Four fall pasture plot tours were held over a two year time period with average attendance at each tour being 25 producers. A winter producer meeting was held in conjunction with the 2005 Watertown Winter Farm Show in which 125 producers attended. A second program will be held in February of 2006 at the Watertown Winter Farm Show. This second program will go over the results from the two year study and give an overview of the findings of the study.
C. Pictures. See Appendix B
D. News Releases, Farm Show Program. See Appendix B

Project Objectives:

To set up fertility and weed control test plots, in cooperation with local Extension Service personnel, to increase awareness of the importance of good pasture management in the Coteau Hills region of northeast SD and western Minnesota.

Research

Participation Summary
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.