Forage and Pasture Educational Program for Professionals in the Northwest
This project expands the successful WSARE Professional Development Project EW05-12, and is designed to improve the knowledge and skills of professionals in sustainable livestock and forage production systems. A needs assessment survey identified needs for training in the proposed areas. A workshop for Mt Vernon, WA was organized and completed in 2014, and one more workshop is planned in 2015 at Logan, UT. The seminar/workshop uses extension, ARS, NRCS, forage seed industry, and integrates producer instructors. The detailed class syllabus and program will be revised based on evaluations and experience with the workshops.
- Improve extension and USDA personnel understanding and implementation of the principles of management intensive grazing featuring multi-day workshops conducted on demonstration ranches; hands-on workshops on cooperator’s operations; the development of extension bulletins; peer reviewed publications with a western perspective.
- Develop a Western SARE mentoring or support system for PNW educators and graziers trying to implement sustainable grazing practices on irrigated pasture through the use of a list server, newsletter, and/or other appropriate communication technology.
- Collect data from producers practicing rotational grazing to demonstrate defoliation response and determine tiller dynamics in response to grazing. Record defoliation response by time-lapse photography for workshop demonstration and develop recommendations for a range of canopy heights of several different pasture forage species.
- Distribute the Pasture and Grazing Management in the Northwest (PNW614) book to pasture advisors and demonstrate how to use it to consult with grass farmers and livestock producers, and to encourage the sustainable practices of grazing and pasture management. Emphasis will be placed on the benefits of plant diversity, ecosystem processes to the economics of a sustainable system and environmental and wildlife benefits from active goal-setting, monitoring, and management.
- Demonstrate the proper use of pasture monitoring tools (the pasture stick and rising plate meter) and prediction equations we developed in Western SARE EW05-12 for extension, NRCS, and producers to evaluate production on Northwest pastures.
A workshop was held in Mount Vernon, WA from 22-24 April 2014. There were 57 students from: universities and extension (18), NRCS/CD (29), industry (2), state agencies (3), and producers (5). Instructors for the seminar/workshop used 12 extension employees from University of Idaho, Washington State University, Oregon State University; and 1 industry instructor.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
There were 14.5 CEU credits available for the Certified Crop Adviser Program and 16 credits for the Certified Range Management Professional program. A detailed class syllabus and program will be revised based on evaluations and experience with the workshops. Our next workshop is scheduled for June 2015 in Logan, UT.
Participants were given pre- and post-workshop tests with Turning Point’s add-in to PowerPoint™ in the anonymous mode. The pre- and post-test had identical 18 questions. The questions below showed the most improvement in knowledge. The following percentages of respondents improved their knowledge when asked:
Mount Vernon, WA Workshop
- 35% “If germination is 90% and purity is 90%, what is the pure live seed Index?” Answer: “81”
- 53% “Forage plants are very photosyntheticaly efficient because they capture more than 50% of the solar radiation and have 99% conversion of energy?” Answer: false
- 52% “The accumulation of successive ______ differentiated from a single apical meristem defines the tiller.” Answer: Phytomers
- 34% “Hoof action from mob grazing will increase organic matter in soil?” Answer: false.
The average improvement in score (post score – pre score) for 18 questions was 25%.
Summary of Post-Workshop Evaluation Questions for Mount Vernon, WA (n=41)
Responses were 49% as “strongly agree”, 39% as “agree”, and 1(2%) unfavorable responses for the question “Did the workshop meet your expectations?” Responses were 17% as “strongly agree”, 49% as “agree”, 22% “neutral”, and 12% unfavorable responses for the question “Was there a good balance of lectures and hands-on exercises?” Responses were 41% as “strongly agree”, 57% as “agree”, and no unfavorable responses for the question “Did you gain understanding of critical concepts and principles?”
Extension Forage Specialist
Washington State University
24106 N. Bunn Rd
Prosser, WA 99350-8694
Office Phone: 5097869266