RREA
University of California
RREA

California Sheep Acadamy

PI: Roger Ingram, County Director/Livestock & NR Advisor, Placer County-ANR
Co-PI: John Harper, County Director/Livestock & NR Advisor, Mendocino County-ANR
Stephanie Larson, Livestock & NR Advisor, Sonoma County-ANR

The purpose the sheep academy was to teach, demonstrate and provide practical experience in using sheep to reduce fuel loads and control invasive plants. The funding from RREA enabled a live-in course called The California Sheep Academy and emphasized the practical application of research based grazing principles using sheep. Participants worked in teams and each team received a flock of fifty ewes to graze.

Evaluations indicated all participants would recommend the course to others. The greatest understanding from this course was: sheep grazing behavior; five principles of controlled grazing; determining carrying capacity and stocking rate; sheep nutrition, supplementation and body condition scoring; developing a monitoring program and ability to plan and manage a sustainable sheep grazing program.

Participants worked in teams and each teams received a flock of fifty yearling e
Participants worked in teams and each teams received a flock of fifty yearling e

Quotes from Program Participants

"Very informative. By using the tools given in this course I will be able to make dramatic improvements in pasture health and productivity."

"Always something new from the teaching staff as well as the participants."

"The academy is full of ideas to implement on our operation. It will be a matter of picking and choosing which ideas to implement first."

"It will change my operation."

"I learned more about how to implement a grazing plan and many other things."

"Very informative. By using the tools given in this course I will be able to make dramatic improvements in pasture health and productivity."

"I think this is a good time to have it."

Teams were given electric netting or polywire to fence their ranch along with a
Teams were given electric netting or polywire to fence their ranch along with a

Pre and Post Test Results.

These statements received the most % improvement – statements were ranked 1-5 with 1 being no understanding and 5 being a lot of understanding

My understanding of planning an area to graze with sheep – score increased from 2.4 to 3.71 – 52.9% increase

My understanding of the 5 principles of controlled grazing – score increased from 2.1 to 4 - 86.7% increase

My understanding of how carrying capacity and stocking rate can be determined when grazing sheep – score increased from 2.3 to 3.71 -62.5% increase

My ability to develop a monitoring program fro my grazing area – score increased from 2.3 to 3.71 - 62.5% increase

More Information:

Q: How did you like the course?

  • Connecting with the instructors and participants and seeing the facilities at Hopland.
  • Classroom interaction with field work
  • The variety of topics and the way the routine was broken up. I can only stay put in a chair for so long
  • The location and being able to see and use Hopland Station
  • The group working out a grazing plan. The solving of problems in real world situations.
  • Time well utilized. Gave lots of information with hands-on and direct involvement.
  • I liked building the pens and talking about amount of feed the sheep consumed.Working with the sheep and seeing actual results

Comments on the course:

  • Great
  • Very informative, very well organized, extremely well presented
  • It was great to have all the different Farm Advisors here and to have them share their knowledge.
  • I liked the intensity (2.5 days @ 12 hrs / day) and the small group. Food was good!
  • Great weekend. Moved being on the sheep station and talking with other producers.
  • Liked having all the trainers
  • Just super
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