- Author: Clint Tipton
During the two day event Steve discussed the practices of approaching and moving a herd, placing cattle, weaning cattle in a field setting, sorting cattle, working stock in facilities, and Bud box design and use. In addition to time in the classroom, the students also had the opportunity to put their newly learned skills to use, working cattle in both corral and pasture settings. A total of 24 participants were able to take home useful strategies to apply on their own operations.SFREC would like to give a huge thank you to Steve and Susan for sharing their incredible knowledge and to Roger Ingram for planning the event.
- Author: Maddison Easley
UC SFREC is now at an exciting point in its history where it is able to build off of this early success and hire a full time science educator to expand educational programming at the center.
“In my previous positions, I've worked a lot as a support role helping to instruct different groups or in helping to build the programs. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to be a leader and…put all of my experiences to good use,” shared Stefancich.
Specific programs Stefancich hopes to enhance and facilitate at SFREC include youth centered education, community engagement and investment, as well as collaborations with neighboring agencies and organizations.
Afterschool opportunities, grade and subject-specific field trips for students, and boosted 4-H club interactions are primary avenues being explored to increase youth involvement at SFREC. An open-house style workshop showcasing current research and natural resource topics is in the works.
“One of the main things is to increase our visibility so that the community knows this is a resource and what it is being used for, the research that is being done here, and how that impacts our understanding of natural resources,” shared Stefancich.
Stefancich is highly motivated to build and strengthen relationships with local groups and organizations, as well as strengthen partnerships with U.C. Cooperative Extension, particularly 4-H Youth Development Programs. Excellent headway has been made regionally to connect underrepresented youth to science-rich experiential learning through programs like Youth Experiences in Science (YES) and Water Wizards.
A few of the UCCE programs Ali Stefancich and SFREC will be working with include:
- Sacramento County 4-H Youth Development Program
- Yuba-Sutter 4-H Youth Development Program
- Nevada-Placer 4-H Youth Development Program
- Project Learning Tree
“Another goal is to establish easy avenues to relate the research that's being done here to people who can use it, too. I'd love to get more volunteer involvement and get people really connected with what's going on here,” said Stefancich.
- Nevada County Farm Day – 2nd / 3rd graders - September 22nd, 2016
- Beef & Range Field Day – highschoolers - October 5th, 2016
- Low Stress Livestock Handling School – October 21st -22nd, 2016
Organized by Roger Ingram, Placer-Nevada County UCCE Director and Farm Advisor
- Community Open House – To Be Announced
Ali Stefancich encourages educators, youth program organizers, local agencies and fellow UCANR representatives to contact her to discuss learning opportunities for the near future.
You can reach her through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, 530-639-8807.
- Author: Nikolai Schweitzer
- planting different bareroot/potted fruit/nut tree varieties on a successive ripening curve
- important pre-planting timelines, methods and procedures
- demonstrating environmental success and/or stress on each fruit/nut variety
- illustrating summer pruning on apricot trees
- showing different irrigation methods, volume, rates
- options for dormant pesticide applications
Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center and Sutter Yuba UCCE Master Gardener Program will host an early spring bareroot fruit/nut planting in 2016. If you are interested in attending, please contact Master Gardener Program Representative Heidi Sanders at 530-822-7515.
- Author: Dan Macon
This year, we have four distinct groups of cattle at SFREC. Each group is part of one or more research projects:
- We have cow-calf pairs that belong to the UC Davis Animal Science Department. These are fall-calving cows. In normal years, the calves are weaned in late May, and the cows are grazed on dry forage during the summer and fall. Currently, this herd is split into 3 groups – older cows with calves, second-calf heifers with calves, and open cows with calves.
- We have bred heifers also belonging to the UC Davis Animal Science Department. These heifers are typically grazed on irrigated pastures during the summer and through fall calving.
- We have outside heifers that are part of a foothill abortion vaccine trial. These heifers will be preg-checked in mid-April. Normally, the open heifers would be kept at SFREC until late May.
- We have steers that are part of a long term adaptive management and targeted grazing research project. Like the heifers, these steers would be kept at SFREC until late May in a normal year.
But this year is anything but normal! After a very promising fall (with normal germination of our annual grasses and near-normal forage growth through the end of December), we are now coping with a fourth year of drought. Since January 1, we've measured just 2.43 inches of precipitation (average for January-March is 11.69 inches). With the lack of rainfall, forage growth has slowed (total production through April 1 was 1400 pounds per acre, which is about 100 pounds less than normal for this time of year). Total production doesn't tell the whole story, however; the pastures that we've grazed since the first of the year haven't recovered as expected (which means we haven't returned to these pastures as expected). My colleagues who have worked at SFREC for a number of years tell me that the vegetation is at least 30 days ahead of schedule – in other words, our annual rangeland looks more like mid-May than early April. All of this means that this week's rain will help in some pastures, but it's “too little, too late” in others. Our peak standing crop (the total amount of forage grown during this growing season) will likely be far below our long term average of 3000 pounds per acre.
Based on this year's reality, we started fine-tuning our drought plan in early March. One of the key steps in our drought planning is to establish a critical date – a date by which we'll make some stocking decisions if we don't receive rainfall. In early March, we decided that if we hadn't received at least an inch of precipitation by April 1, we'd need to start taking action. Here are the steps we're looking at taking in the next 30 days (by May 1):
- Ship the open foothill abortion heifers 7-10 days following preg-check. This will allow us to take as many as 150 heifers off the pastures at SFREC.
- Ship some of the steers (at least those in pastures where feed is not re-growing) by early May. If we do happen to get some late-spring moisture, this would allow some regrowth for next fall. This week's rain may be enough to get us through to the end of May.
- Ship open cows and calves. There are only 13 pairs that fall into this category, but every little bit helps!
- Wean early. Some of the Animal Science calves already weigh more than 500 pounds. Another large group is between 450 and 500 pounds. Weaning the calves now and shipping them off SFREC, will reduce the nutritional demand on the cows, and will reduce the forage demand (both from cows and from big calves) on our rangeland.
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: 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.