Do you have tumbleweed on your ranch? Do you want to know how to get rid of it?
This is a 1-year project at this point. We will fence out plots this winter. Herbicide treatments will be done in spring 2016, seeding will be done fall 2016, and vegetation monitoring will be done spring 2017. Targeted grazing will be done probably in late spring/early summer, depending on what time of year is determined to be most effective.
If you have tumbleweed on your ranch and you're interested in working with UC Cooperative Extension on a control study, please let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-637-5346 x14.
UCCE Watershed Advisor Royce Larsen put on a workshop in Creston (San Luis Obispo County) yesterday to demonstrate use of the Yeomans Plow, which was developed in Australia. Plow users have wide-ranging goals: accumulate water, build soil, increase forage production, control erosion, and sequester carbon, among other things.
The plow is used in a keyline pattern, meaning that you plow along the contour of the land. The idea is that the plow will make grooves in the soil, almost like mini ditches, where water will be held for a longer period of time before it runs off. When water is held in place for longer, it will be available to plants for longer, so the hope is that it will increase plant production and carbon sequestration, and reduce erosion.
Yeomans plow representatives (reps) said that you can build 2-3 inches of topsoil in 1 year using the plow. They said that in Vermont someone was able to build 8 inches of topsoil in 1 year. This would be a tall order in California's much drier Mediterranean climate.
Reps did warn that if you break up the soil you will get some undesirable plants. I would expect that breaking up soil also has the potential to increase erosion, especially if predicted el nino storms hit our area.
A 10-foot Yeomans plow with all the bells and whistles will cost around $18,000. The reps suggested that in rangeland you may want to use it once every 3-5 years or maybe you would use it one time only, depending on your situation. They suggest driving about 2.5 or 3 miles per hour while plowing which would let you cover about 20 acres in a day. Check out a video of the Yeomans plow in action by clicking on the image below.
During the demonstration 3 treatments were used: Yeomans plow only, Yeomans plow with pelletized compost, and Yeomans plow with flecha fescue seed. Royce Larsen will monitor these treatments and compare them to an unplowed area to see the effects of the Yeomans plow in California's Central Coast region.
UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension, the California Cattlemen's Association, and the California Wool Growers Association are all partnering to conduct a survey of California ranchers. They will collect and share information about drought management strategies, economic and ecological impacts, and drought adaptation and recovery strategies. For more information or if you are interested in participating in the survey, see the Drought Impact Survey Flyer at the bottom of this post.
UCCE is recruiting to fill two positions at the Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center in Browns Valley. If you know of any potential candidates, please have them check out the links below.
Beef Cattle Research Assistant:
Environmental Science Educator:
Here are some events related to livestock and range management that may be of interest. You can always check my website for new event postings.
California Rangeland Conservation Coalition Summit
Date: January 21, 2016 - January 22, 2016
Location: Stockton, CA
The Summit will address challenges and opportunities to improve rangeland management to reduce the incidence of catastrophic wildfire and reduce the impacts of wildfire to ranch sustainability and conservation interests.
For more information or to register, go to their website.
Salinas River Symposium
Date: January 22, 2016
Location: Paso Robles, CA
This meeting will focus on sustaining livestock production and clean water on rangeland watersheds. University of California speakers will be Ken Tate, Rob Atwill, Sam Sandoval Solis, and Royce Larsen.
Check out their website for more information or to register.
Bay Area Open Space Council
Date: January 28, 2016
Location: Berkeley, CA
Come hear perspectives on the benefits and challenges of working with ranchers for grazing to benefit conservation on public and/or private conservation lands in the Bay Area.
This event is sold out, but there is a waiting list. See their website for more information.
Chico State Beef Day
Date: February 20, 2016
Location: Chico, CA
Topics will include rangeland cattle management, making social media work for you, beef quality assurance, and carcass fabrication and new product development.
Location: Newport Beach, CA
Attendees will discuss and exchange information on human-wildlife conflicts. California Continuing Education credits are yet to be determined, but past Conferences have generally provided 18 - 22 DPR credit hours.
Here's the website for more information and to register.