Promoting sustainable range-livestock enterprises through partnerships which develop producer mentoring networks for best management practices
Summary: Producer awareness of the importance of monitoring rangeland health continued to increase through workshops, presentations, articles in the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center (CGREC) annual report, field days, and the producer mentor network. The demonstration farm utilized a herd of 100 cow/calf pairs and was placed on a rotational grazing system of tame and native pastures as well as crop aftermath grazing, creep feeding, and backgrounding with forages and grains raised at CGREC. In 2007 all animals were backgrounded and steers were sold immediately afterward. The heifers were kept as replacements. Collaboration and cooperation with federal agencies and private producers will continue to be encouraged and utilized as a medium of information dissemination.
Short Term Outcomes:
1) Increase producer awareness of the potential economic returns from a properly managed forage base.
2) Assist producers to assess the productive potential of their rangeland through the use of soil maps to determine range sites.
3) Teach producers to set up and maintain a rangeland monitoring program on their land.
4) Assist producers with development of computerized records of livestock inventory, performance, and sales.
1) CGREC will develop a Whole Enterprise Management System (WEMS) to be used for public instruction and viewing.
2) Formation of a producer mentoring network to assist producers with WEMS development on their farms.
Short Term Outcomes: (Range Monitoring)
1. In 2007 the facilitator conducted 24 on-farm visits to teach producers how to set up and maintain a resource monitoring system on their operation. Assistance was given with plant identification and soils maps of the producer’s operation were provided.
2. Presentation to 150 producers at the CGREC Winter Meeting about calculating stocking rates and carrying capacity for native range.
3. Presented a program on livestock performance on pastures ranging from poor to excellent condition at the summer field tour to 130 producers. This program was conducted in pastures ranging from poor to excellent condition and provided a concrete illustration of how pasture quality may affect the availability of food and nutrients to livestock.
Long term goals: (Model Farm)
1.Developed an economic analysis for the livestock portion of the Model Farm Program and placed it on the CGREC web site at ttp://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/streeter/2006report/Model_farm.htm.
2. Developed a steering committee who assisted with the producer mentoring committee.
3. A producer member of the steering committee was paid expenses to help establish a mentoring network with other producers in the area.
4.The economic analysis for the livestock portion of the Model Farm was printed in the CGREC Annual Report and 45,000 copies were distributed in North Dakota,Canada, and to all Land Grant Colleges in the USA.
Fifty-four backgrounded steer calves were sold in February 2007. During the summer of 2007, we have continued to use a herd of 100 four- and five-year-old cows for the project. This model farm continues to utilize rotational grazing in tame and native pastures and also crop aftermath grazing on corn, alfalfa, and barley fields. The calves were creep fed for 30 days before being weaned in October. One hundred calves were weaned and will be backgrounded and sold in December.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Range monitoring is one of the most important tools that a producer has to estimate the carrying capacity of his ranch. Without regular monitoring of range production and condition producers can only guess at the proper resource management decisions. During field days the facilitator demonstrated how range condition, ranging from fair to excellent, affects the quality of forage produced for livestock. It was also shown how livestock must expend a lot of energy to procure forage on overgrazed range. Producers expressed their appreciation for the program and 24 producers engaged in the monitoring portion of this study. The program pointed to a need for water quality and quantity. This issue will be addressed in the future.
Family farms and Other areas: Twenty-four producers, their families, and employees took part in the in-field monitoring program. Field day attendance and meetings were well attended and program content was appreciated. Articles were printed in the annual report which has both a local and national distribution of 45,000 targeted both producers and rangeland professionals. This annual report is also posted on CGREC’s website.
The model farm examined the issues involving quality of life and the ability to have a comfortable lifestyle from ranching. At the beginning of this project members of the steering committee stressed the importance of leisure and better time management on their ranches. It became apparent that finishing cattle may increase risk, record keeping, and the need for adequate facilities in winter while decreasing leisure time. However, the project also points to the potential to add value to home-grown feed.
Medina, ND 58467
Office Phone: 7014863247
Medina High School
PO Box 602
Medina, ND 58467
1924 N. Grandview Lane
Bismarck, ND 58503
Office Phone: 7012233421
State Range Extension Specialist
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND 58105
Office Phone: 7012317647
Leopold Center for Sustainable Ag.
209 Curtiss Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-1050
Office Phone: 5152943711
1824 15th Ave NW
Turtle Lake, ND 58575
Office Phone: 7014482405
12704 85th St. SE
Gwinner, ND 58040-9741
Office Phone: 7016782653
14618 57th St SE
Sheldon, ND 58068
Assoc. Professor/Research Scientist
NDSU Animal & Range Sciences Dept.,
Fargo, ND 58105
Natural Resources Conservation Service
PO Box 1458
Bismarck,, ND 58502-1458
Office Phone: 7015302080
Facilitator, Range and Natural Resource Specialist
NDSU Central Grasslands REC
4824 48th Ave SE
Streeter, ND 58483
Office Phone: 7014243606
11450 353 Ave
Leola, SD 57456