- Additional Plants: native plants
- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: range improvement
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement
- Pest Management: biological control, prevention, weed ecology
- Soil Management: soil microbiology
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Rangeland cattle ranches face the invasion of winter annual grasses, which outcompete good quality forage for cattle production and wildlife diversity. Cheatgrass (downy brome, Bromus tectorum) and medusahead rye (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) can quickly turn into a monoculture and add little or no nutritional value. With our “Restoring Rangeland Quality with Soil Health Enhancement” project we have defined a particular geographic region in which all landowners and managers have a common interest in controlling existing populations and the future spread of medusahead rye and cheatgrass, which continue to invade the entire landscape. This collaborative effort evaluated and demonstrated the effective use of soil enhancing bacterium, a new and ground-breaking technology for inhibiting growth on medusahead rye and cheatgrass. There were 16,095 acres of medusahead rye and cheatgrass surveyed between 7 producers and 1 collaborator, starting in 2016 before aerial spraying occurred in October 2016. Aerial treatment was done at the end of October 2016, with bacteria/ herbicide together and bacteria alone. For the project 2862 net acres was aerial sprayed and 153 net acres were sprayed by landowners behind ATV. The rate of spray for bacteria was 1 gallon per acre and herbicide (Imazapic) was 6 ounces per acre. 1962 net acres was bacteria only and 1053 net acres was both bacteria and herbicide. A ten acre plot was created at the Nature conservancy using bacteria only at a rate of 2 gallons per acre on cheatgrass. Monitoring photos at 11 sites has been uploaded into the samplepoint.org application as suggested by Dr. Ann Kennedy at Washington State University. This program defines habitat density by pixels. Producers will be following up with monitoring each spring, taking new pictures looking at effectiveness. The results concluded a few monitoring sites with soil bacteria only sprayed, showed small reduction of annual grasses or the grasses were stunted, as to something was happening in the soils. The conclusion landowners had from the project was the bacteria did not make enough difference to use again or adopt as a new practice.
Objectives / Performance Targets:
- To evaluate and demonstrate the use of soil enhancement bacteria in rangeland in Crook County.
- To restore rangeland health by reducing annual invasive grasses and increasing native grass production.
- To inform producers in the community and land managers with a cost analysis of management options on rangeland for long-term production.
The project’s goal to restore rangeland health and function for the Greater Sage-grouse coincides with restoring mule deer habitat and most importantly, increasing livestock forage production. Dryland forage is essential for this ranching community as cattle use rangeland for grazing most of the year. This collaborative effort will evaluate and demonstrate the effective use of soil enhancing bacterium, a new and ground-breaking technology for inhibiting growth on medusahead rye and cheatgrass. These weed- suppressive bacteria are selective and ecologically safe, field tested to assist with present restoration efforts within the project boundaries. The bacterium allows desired native species to be more competitive in the plant community where they can reseed and encourage plant diversity.
In 2016 was the beginning steps for our project objectives. All 6 ranchers from the original participants list, plus one more rancher through outreach was added, all participated in the surveying research. CRWMA with the participation of producers and The Nature Conservancy, photos were taken before spraying bacteria (MB 906) and photo monitoring pics were taken after aerial spraying. Monitoring photos at 11 sites have been uploaded into the samplepoint.org application for habitat density by pixels. Data results were done in 2016, 2017, and again in 2018 to compare outcome as to soil bacteria effectiveness.
In 2017 the objective was to take field observations at the 11 monitoring sites established in November of 2016. Field observations were taken in May/June 2017 with all 7 producers and both collaborators involved. A new producer came on to the project in spring 2016 after talking with neighboring producers within the project. Monitoring this year was done at the 11 located field plot sites that was established in November 2016. The monitoring photos at the 11 sites have been uploaded into the samplepoint.org application.
In 2018 the objective was to take field observations at the 11 monitoring sites established in November of 2016. Field observations were taken in May/June/July 2018 with all 7 producers and both collaborators involved. Monitoring this year was done at the 11 located field plot sites that was established in November 2016. The monitoring photos at the 11 sites have been uploaded into the samplepoint.org application. The program defines habitat density by pixels for comparison with 2017 and 2016 photos.
Cost analysis for aerial spraying bacteria verses herbicide was; First year, bacteria being $ 8.40 per acre and helicopter was $23.00 per acre. If herbicide was added with bacteria, chemical was $8.70 and helicopter service was $23.00 per acre.
In all cases the target species was medusahead rye and cheatgrass. A bacterium, MB 906 from BioWest Ag Solutions was aerial sprayed with and without herbicide. Due to the cost and the helicopter sprayer, we did not use native seed coated with bacteria. Aerial spraying took place at the end of October 2016. This was the first step in restoring rangeland health as the fall treatment window is very narrow. All producers and collaborators were happy to see bacteria sprayed. For the project 2862 net acres was aerial sprayed and 153 net acres were sprayed by landowners behind ATV. This met our performance target, which was 3000 net acres.906 Label_MB906_OREGON_11.7.2015