- Author: Dustin Flavell
We went through January in a precarious state with only about 270 lbs of forage per acre on the ground by February 1st when normally we should have about 500 bs of forage per acre by February 1st, so the brief wet and warm period we had in early February (precipitation totals) did help us reduce the forage deficit. March is our second largest forage production month where on average we grow more than 800 lbs per acre ac so we need to see close to 1000 lbs per acre of growth in March to get us back on track for the season.
While March 1st is an indicator of how well things were (or not) for the winter months, April 1st has always been a better gauge as to where we might end up at peak standing crop. The table below shows several years that had similar forage values on March 1st but ended up with large differences in forage by the end of spring. For example in 1979-1980 we started March at 500 lbs per acre and by the end of spring ended up with total forage production that was 56% of average while in 2001-2002 we started March at 447 lbs per acre and by the end of spring had forage production that was 93% of average. Last year, with the severe drought, we started March with 400 lbs of forage on the grounded and by the end of spring forage production was about 77% of average.
It is difficult to predict how this season will turn out as of today, but March is not looking too encouraging in the way of predicted precipitation for the month. While this weekend's 0.21 inches of precipitation was a welcome site we are going to need more than a few thunderstorms to get us back on track. Our next round of data will come out shortly after April 1st and will give us a more definitive idea of where the rest of the growing season may be headed. For more information on long-term weather and forage production trends in the Sierra Foothills click here. If you are interested in getting more information managing through low rainfall/forage years SFREC has a number of videos and publications that explore this topic.
To get more information about how producers can benefit from forage production data, click here.
- Author: Jeremy James
UC SFREC along with UC Cooperative Extension form Nevada/Placer hosted a tour of SFREC and ongoing UC research and extension efforts for representatives from Nevada County government, Farm Bureau and the agricultural industry. The main aim of the tour was to highlight ongoing UC research and extension efforts to evaluate and demonstrate the critical role that rangeland systems play in local agriculture as well as the many ecological benefits that rangeland provides society in the region and across the state. The tour enjoyed one of the many unusually warm days we have had in February and was able to view the beef cattle management research on the upper ranch and some of the irrigation and pasture management at the lower ranch. Key opportunities that emerged from this tour included cooperative efforts to support Ag in the Classroom, opportunities to bring other county related programs to explore critical aspects of agriculture and how to leverage those efforts to help conserve rangeland and support ranching enterprises throughout the region.
- Author: Megan G Osbourn
The Beef and Range Field Day held on October 8, 2014 gave local high school students an opportunity to interact with farm advisors, veterinarians and researchers in order to learn about some of the practical applications of beef cattle production. California Senator, Jim Nielsen took time out of his busy schedule to speak with the students about the pressing issues currently facing California agriculture. He challenged his audience to step up and be in leaders for an industry that will most certainly need their support in the future. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Senator Nielsen for the support he has continuously given to agriculture education and for his dedication to those currently involved in agriculture.
The below video includes a summary of the Beef & Range Field Day in addition to comments by Senator Nielsen:
- Author: Megan G Osbourn
In the latest Research Spotlight, Glenn Nader, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, describes the project currently underway at SFREC to test the efficacy of utilizing rice strawlage as a supplement for beef cattle. In past studies, rice strawlage has greatly increased the laboratory nutritional quality of rice straw. The strawlage process, could greatly impact both California livestock and rice operations. It also could have potential worldwide impacts, as rice straw is one of the world's largest cereal residues produced. The current use of rice straw in the dry form has very limited applications in animal feeding systems.
For more information on rice strawlage research, click here.
- Contributor: Nikolai Schweitzer