Sustainable Range – Pasture Livestock – Dairy Production Training For Resource Professionals

1997 Annual Report for EW97-002

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1997: $29,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $42,000.00
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Roger Ingram
University of California Cooperative Extension

Sustainable Range – Pasture Livestock – Dairy Production Training For Resource Professionals

Summary

Objectives

· Conduct a four-day course teaching the practical application of research-based management strategies that optimize economic, environmental and social sustainability of livestock and dairy production.
· Develop, demonstrate and distribute a curriculum that educators can use to teach ranchers and dairy farmers sustainable alternatives to conventional practices.
· Teach research design and methods needed to conduct sustainable livestock production research and demonstration programs.
· Develop a web page on the internet and a newsletter to provide follow-up support and training for alumni.
· Survey alumni annually to evaluate the effectiveness of training and follow-up support.

Abstract

Twenty Natural Resource Conservation Service and Cooperative Extension resource professionals from six western states attended the second Grazing Academy for Resource Professionals. The program was held May 4-7, 1999 at the Sustainable Ranching Research and Extension Center at the University of California Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center in northern California.

Participants received four days of hands-on experience applying controlled grazing principles and learning ranch and grazing planning techniques. Topics addressed included range ecology, grazing management, and livestock nutrition. Participants were also shown how to:

· Design effective and low cost ranch infrastructure
· Evaluate the economic impact of resource decisions
· Design on-farm grazing systems research and demonstration trials
· Effectively extend useful information on controlled grazing

Participants were also given a curriculum to use (including a slide set) to conduct seminars on management intensive grazing practices. Using a small Renewable Resources Extension Act grant, we produced The California Grazing Academy Audio Tape Series. The series is a set of four audio tape programs on various aspects of controlled grazing. Each participant was given a set of the tapes.

Potential Benefits

Our alumni have more knowledge, improved skill and useful resources to respond to inquiries about controlled grazing and other practices that improve the sustainability of livestock production. They have a better understanding of the challenges of systems research and have seen examples of how to conduct useful research and demonstrations.

Educational Informational Materials Produced

We produced a participant workbook and a slide set with a script. The workbook includes over 30 articles and a dozen exercises our alumni can publish in local newsletters or reproduce and use as hand-outs at meetings they conduct.

Topics of articles include:
· Range ecology & evaluating range health
· Controlled grazing principles & practices
· Estimating carrying capacity
· Low-stress livestock handling
· Troubleshooting grazing problems
· Managing through drought
· Range nutrition & supplementation principles and practices
· Body condition scoring
· Feed budgeting
· Grazing planning
· Monitoring
· Grazing cell design
· Economics
· Fencing (13 articles)
· Water development

The workbook includes exercises on:
· Estimating carrying capacity
· Evaluating range health
· Feed budgeting
· Grazing planning
· Assessing the impacts of past management practices
· Determining appropriate rest and graze periods
· Determining the number of paddocks needed to implement controlled grazing
· Troubleshooting range health, management, animal performance and other potential problems
· Creating the infrastructure to implement controlled grazing
· Determining the supplementation needs of grazing animals
· Determining (in broad terms) the calving season that best matches the animal’s cycle with the forage cycles
· Projecting the economic consequences of management decision.

A slide set and script were also included in the workbook.

This summary was prepared by the project coordinator for the 2000 reporting cycle.

Collaborators:

David Pratt

dwpratt@ucdavis.edu
Solano County University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE)
2000 West Texas Street
Fairfield, CA 94533-4498
Office Phone: 7074216791