Training and Education Outreach to NRCS and University of California CES staff to Convey Animal Nutrition

2003 Annual Report for EW01-010

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $81,950.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Federal Funds: $22,610.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $17,000.00
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Thomas Wehri
CA Association Resource Conservation Districts

Training and Education Outreach to NRCS and University of California CES staff to Convey Animal Nutrition


Year 2003 activities include the findings by the University of California Research Activities and the evaluation and presentation of these findings to range specialist and ranchers. The completion of the California Annual Rangeland Forage Quality and Evaluation of the Texas A&M Fecal NIRS System Prediction of Digestibility and Crude Protein using In Vivo Estimation resulted in the recommendation that NIRS equations must be derived using samples from the same population that the equation will be later used to predict. This was accomplished by coordinating the finding with Texas A&M University GANLAB and a recommended curve modification is suggested for California’s annual grasslands. Results are reflected in the comparison of the curves on five California rangeland sites. Other activities included presentation to 2 major audiences during the year and the compilation of summary databases and evaluation sets as well as collection of materials for the proposed fact sheets and technical notes.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Increase understanding of animal nutrition by California ranchers.

Evaluate and validate use of the NUTBAL program on California annual grasslands.

Conduct training sessions for NRCS, UC Cooperative Extension, Resource Conservation District employees and Directors, other range specialist and ranchers.

Increase the number of ranchers using Animal Nutrition and Forage Quality (ANFQ) technology (including ‘NUTBAL’ software) to improve operations.

Increase ranchers net income and encourage sustainable use of rangeland resources.

Develop case histories; written summary reports, PowerPoint slide presentation, and display board educational tools.

Poll students and ranchers before and after training, and at the close of the two-year period, to determine the increase in knowledge, skill, and capacity deriving from this effort.


  • Completion of two-day training session on “NUTBAL” presented by Texas A&M instructors to seven NRCS Area Range Conservationist.

    Completion of a 3 day Rangeland Mgt. Specialist Workshop from February 26 to March 1, 2002 involving CA NRCS Range Specialists as well as range and watershed instructors from University of California, Davis and UC Berkeley, and Agricultural Research Service.

    Completion of pilot local training session presented by NRCS and UCD Cooperative Extension on April 29, 2002 with several ranchers and agencies in attendance. Several trials were established as a result of the training session. Ceci Dale-Cesmat, NRCS Range Conservationist, administers these studies. As part of this session a training book and guide was developed and will be used at all local training sessions.

    Completion of “Analysis of all collected samples for validation of NUTBAL” program as it applies to California’s annual grazing lands. Graduate student Angie Jinks completed thesis on findings. Three draft papers prepared of findings.

    Completed correlation of UCD research findings with the Texas A&M University GANLAB assistant director Doug Tolleson. Incorporation of the findings is planned for 2004.

    Completion of summary data set on last 5 years of NUTBAL samples. Results reflected 927 samples were made on some 64 one different ranches. Samples involved 15 different field personnel.

    Completed poster of current findings and presented results at the California Association of Resources Conservation Districts Annual Meeting with attendance of 225 people. Results presented at Second National Conference on Grazing Lands, Nashville, TN. Total attendance was in excess of 1200 people. California partnership had 19 people in attendance. In conjunction with Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) presented finding of NUTBAL and project in a poster/display. In addition 6 presentation, were made in concurrent sessions.

    Partner staff of NRCS presented findings of case studies on Forage Quality/Livestock Monitoring in California at the Second National Conference on Grazing Lands based on the use of the NUTBAL information. Presentation involved a power point presentation of findings.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Accomplishments planned in 2004 include the development of materials for use by NRCS, USDA for use in the Field Office Technical Guide, development of fact sheets for local use, completion of reports on findings, obtaining inputs from ranchers on the use of NUTBAL and completion of workshops for area specialist and ranchers. Specific work tasks are:

1. Complete written summary report on all samples and findings on past 5 years.

2. Complete case studies on grazing studies and findings of 5 years of data from the use of the ‘NUTBAL” program.

3. Continue workshops or presentations on the findings of the completed research.

4. Development of display board for continued education to specialist and ranchers.

5. Complete poll of 10 participating ranchers to determine the increase on knowledge, skill, and capacity as a result of the program.

6. Continue coordination on the use of NUTBAL with NRCS and partner personnel and disseminate completed information to all partners and interested ranchers.

7. Development of final report on the findings of the 2-year program along with the development of a fact sheet and material for use in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG).

When complete this study should result in technical supporting data and material that leads to the validation of the NUTBAL software program for use on California’s annual grazing lands.

The completed training will benefit the producers of California and the West who use grazing lands in their operations. It is expected that the increased knowledge will result in increased income to the producer through increased calving successes and decreased feeding cost, at the same time increasing gains with better conditioned animals and improved rangeland conditions.


Jon Gustafson
State Range Conservationist
430 G St. #4164
Davis, CA 95616-4164
Office Phone: 5307925654
James Oltjen
Animal Management Systems Specialist
University of California
Department of Animal Science, 2153 Meyer Hall
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Office Phone: 5307525650
Melvin George
State Extension Range and Pasture Specialist
UCD Cooperative Extension
Department of Agronomy and Range Science
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Office Phone: 5307521720
Website: http//