Developing an Educational Program for Teaching Science-based Concepts of Grass Regrowth for Improved Grazing Management

Project Overview

EW97-004
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1997: $65,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $13,560.00
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
David B. Hannaway
Oregon State University

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Agronomic: barley, rye, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: goats, sheep

Practices

  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: application rate management
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: hedges - grass, grass waterways, habitat enhancement, riparian buffers, wildlife
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Abstract:

    The ability of grasses to grow and regrow numerous times after defoliation is an amazing characteristic and one that can be utilized to heal many types of scars and ailments of the earth’s land surface as well has provide numerous benefits to animals and humans. Most people, however, take grass and its ability to regrow for granted. Even those involved directly in agriculture do not understand, appreciate, or utilize this phenomenon. With increasing populations and the resulting environmental concerns, a good understanding of how grass can work best for inhabitants of this planet is very valuable. Taking care of the earth, feeding animals and humans, and beautification cannot occur without grass playing a key role. We must make the most of what grass is capable of doing: absorbing impurities in the air, filtering our water, improving the visual beauty, providing habitat for wildlife, remaining the main forage for livestock, reducing erosion, and providing numerous recreational surfaces. Grass can sustain us and improve the quality of life if we understand how to maximize its growth.

    The information available in science and industry does not encourage the proper care and management of specific grasses. Since there are multiple thousands of types, grasses are a broad topic. Those closely involved with specific grasses tend to develop their own terminology and publications making dissemination to the general population difficult. But different grasses have different growth habits and responses to defoliation and must, therefore, be managed differently making the most of specific growth habits and regrowth mechanisms. This project has endeavored to make specific information available and understandable for all audiences. The grass experts have supplied information to educators and technology specialists who created a website discussing the many aspects of grass growth and regrowth.
    URL:http://forages.orst.edu/projects/regrowth/.
    This website is connected to the Forage Information System, recipient of the Resource in Agriculture award from Links2Go. A CD ROM has also been created to make the information available in another format. A brochure was created to allow the topic to be introduced to those less comfortable with computer technology.

    The results of this project will help farmers and ranchers develop skills in transferring science to decisions for improved production and environmental stability. The need for this information is evident when talking to forage livestock producers, extension personnel, instructors, and industry representatives. There is a lot of information that is scattered throughout the literature and people’s experiences. There are also many points of contention since grasses differ and their growth differs in response to environments and management. The terminology is extensive and most work in the past has resulted in experts giving a “prescription” to a grower without increasing the understanding of that grower. This project provides understanding so that applications may be more fruitful.

    Project objectives:

    Objective 1: To create an instructional module on forage grass regrowth mechanisms.

    Objective 2: To create an “Extension type” publication that uses portions of the comprehensive grass regrowth instructional module.

    Objective 3: To develop a WWW segment on forage grass regrowth mechanisms and link it to other pasture management resources.

    Objective 4: To create a “hybrid” CD ROM/WWW disk that utilizes the strengths of each media type.

    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.