UW bulletin details post-fire ponderosa pine restoration at Rogers Research Site

University of Wyoming undergraduate student Kristina Kline, left, and bulletin co-author Stephanie Winters mark the edge of a subplot prior to starting a ponderosa pine seedling survival survey in July 2017.

A new University of Wyoming bulletin contributes to the building knowledge base of post-fire ponderosa pine restoration across Wyoming and the West.

UW faculty members, students and others are exploring best management practices for restoring a ponderosa pine forest following the 2012 Arapaho Fire, which burned approximately 98,000 acres in the north Laramie Mountains of southeast Wyoming.

They are conducting the ongoing study at the 320-acre Rogers Research Site (RRS) in extreme northeast Albany County. The fire killed the majority of ponderosa at the site, which is owned by UW and managed by the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES) within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In 2015, a UW faculty-student team launched the long-term project at RRS to investigate the impacts of different restoration treatments applied to the post-fire landscape. Early

findings are detailed in RRS Bulletin 5, Restoration of Ponderosa Pine Following High-Intensity Fire, Rogers Research Site, North Laramie Mountains, Wyoming. B-1298.5.

Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) has evolved to survive frequent, low-intensity fires, which clear out the understory. But high-severity fires like the Arapaho, which occurred during a severe drought, are killing the thick-barked trees, and research is still evolving to determine best management practices for restoring P. ponderosa forests following such fires.

“Extreme wildfire seasons are occurring concurrently with drought, and our research is trying to determine if utilizing management practices like broadcast-seeding ponderosa pine seed or hand-planting seedlings are viable options for reforestation,” said co-author Stephanie Winters, a graduate student in the UW Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

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Management-intensive grazing focus of four-day school

Picture of man
Blake Hauptman

Learning management-intensive grazing concepts and then applying the ideas with hands-on demonstrations is part of a four-day grazing school Monday-Thursday, June 25-28, near Lusk.

The sessions are intended for livestock producers looking to enhance grazing management skills and improve forage and livestock production, said Blake Hauptman, University of Wyoming Extension educator.

Half of each day is in the classroom learning management-intensive grazing concepts and then applying the concepts with hands-on demonstrations and using cattle provided by the Harsy Land and Cattle near Lusk, he said.

Jim Gerrish of American GrazingLands Services LLC, author of the book “Kick the Hay Habit” and a contributing writer for the Stockman Grass Farmer, will lead the class.  Gerrish has over 20 years experience conducting beef-forage systems research and outreach at the University of Missouri, 20 years of commercial cattle and sheep production on his family’s farm in northern Missouri, and now manages a grazing operation near May, Idaho.

Feed costs are typically the number-one expense on most cow-calf operations, said Hauptman.  Stockpiling forages and extending the grazing season while maintaining acceptable livestock performance can lead to major economic benefits for a ranch.

The class is focused on increasing ranch profitability by showing how to design water and fencing infrastructure to achieve better use and improve pasture health, Hauptman said.

“Whether you are wanting to set-up a management-intensive grazing operation on land that is irrigated or sub-irrigated or make improvements in grazing your upland pastures, I think you will be happy you attended this class,” he said.

Cost is $400 per person and $200 for each additional person from the same operation.  Registration costs cover all noon meals, two dinners and class materials.  Class size is limited, and registration is requested by June 15.

For more information or to have a brochure sent to register, contact Hauptman at 307-283-1192 or bhauptma@uwyo.edu, or Abby Perry at 307-328-2642 or ajacks12@uwyo.edu.

Grazing management field day June 16 near Dayton

Portrait of Blaine horn
Blaine Horn

Identifying important rangeland plants, how soils affect what grows and learning about animal unit months and days are part of a grazing management field day Saturday, June 16, at the Amsden Creek Wildlife Habitat Management Area near Dayton.

The free sessions are 10 a.m.-3 p.m., said Blaine Horn, University of Wyoming Extension educator.

Morning topics are rangeland plant identification and their growth characteristics, if they are palatable to livestock and how they respond to grazing; and how soil characteristics affect what plants are present and how well they grow. There is a soil texturing activity.

Afternoon sessions are rangeland production and what the allowable amount for livestock and horse grazing would be and why, with hands-on assessments; the daily amount of forage livestock require and how this relates to Animal Unit Months and Animal Unit Days; a hands-on activity to determine the area needed to provide an AUD’s amount of forage; grazing management practices to maintain or improve condition, better use of the forage resources and animal production improvement.

Registration is requested by Wednesday, June 13. Bottled water and soda will be provided but attendees should bring a sack lunch. Contact Horn at 307-684-7522 to register or for more information.

UW president special guest at sixth annual forage field day near Lingle

Photograph of Anowar Islam speaking to field day attendees
Anowar Islam, University of Wyoming Extension forage specialist

University of Wyoming president Laurie Nichols is the special guest at the sixth annual forage field day Tuesday, June 12, near Lingle.

The day of presentations and workshops begins at 8 a.m. with registration and refreshments and concludes at 4:30 p.m., all at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC), said Anowar Islam, forage specialist with the University of Wyoming Extension and who is coordinating the event.

“This year’s event is very demanding and farmer-focused, especially for those who want alfalfa and improved forages in their cropping/animal production systems and improve their yield, quality and profitability,” said Islam.

Lunch is free, and RSVPs are requested by June 1 by calling SAREC at 307-837-2000, Islam at 307-766-4151 or the Goshen County Extension Office at 307-532-2436. Registration is also available at bit.ly/wyoforage2018.

More than 11 presentations are planned.

“A wide range of forage-related topics will be covered by highly experienced experts including forage production and management, low lignin alfalfa, cover crops for forage, hay quality, soil health, weed control and irrigation management,” said Islam

A producer’s panel discussion is in the afternoon, with the forage field and equipment demonstration to follow. Seed suppliers and machinery dealership equipment demonstrations are planned.

Other field day topics include irrigation strategies; potassium and harvest management; alfalfa, forage sorghum, chickpea, grasses and other forages; and integrating livestock into cropping systems.

More information and a schedule are at www.uwyo.edu/uwe/forage-field-day. Contact Islam at the above number for more information.

Long-term research shows domestic cattle resist oral exposure to Chronic Wasting Disease

Livestock in the Sybille Canyon pens.

Cattle fed extremely high oral doses of Chronic Wasting Disease-infected brain material or kept in heavily prion-contaminated facilities for 10 years showed no neurological signs of the disease.

The University of Wyoming’s Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (WSVL), Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) collaborated in the $1.5 million study. Results will be published in the July issue of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.  Details of the study are available at bit.ly/10yearCWD.

As part of the experiment, 41 calves were randomly distributed to WGFD pens in Sybille Canyon in Wyoming, Colorado Division of Wildlife pens in Fort Collins, the WSVL and 18 to the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa.

“It was an elegant experiment in many ways,” said Hank Edwards, WGFD wildlife disease specialist. “You were taking cattle and housing them with heavily infected CWD elk and facilities. If CWD was going to jump the species barrier, it was likely you would see something in these cattle that had laid out in the pens for 10 years. That’s a big deal.”

The late Beth Williams, a veterinary sciences professor at UW, initiated the study. Authors of the article continued the research after she and husband, Tom Thorne, were killed in a motor vehicle crash in December 2004.  Thorne had served as acting director of the WGFD and had also conducted CWD research.

Authors of the article are Donal O’Toole, a professor in the UW Department of Veterinary Sciences, which operates the WSVL; Michael Miller, a veterinary epidemiologist with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife; Terry Kreeger, a wildlife veterinarian with the WGFD; and Jean Jewell, a molecular biologist with the WSVL. Williams is listed as lead author.

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