University of Wyoming Extension News

Scientists in grass height and sage-grouse nest success study say facts being misrepresented

Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck

Scientists whose study found a positive relationship between taller grass and sage-grouse nest success are concerned environmental groups are using findings to incorrectly label livestock producers as responsible for the birds’ decline.

The study is described in “Linking conservation actions to demography; grass height explains variation in greater sage-grouse nesting survival” published earlier this month in the journal Wildlife Biology. The article can be read at

Dave Naugle, the study’s principal investigator and professor in the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana, said the Center for Biological Diversity in a media release this week used the study to call for a uniform 7-inch stubble height requirement across sage-grouse range as a regulatory mechanism to shut down public lands grazing.

“The center’s messaging is an abuse of science,” said Naugle. “Twisting the facts to further an agenda only alienates partners and slows defensible policy making.”

The study period was 2003-2007. The scientists found a strong correlative relationship between grass height and nest success in northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana study sites, which has helped prompt new research, said lead author Kevin Doherty of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Colorado.

“Our research has helped to spur new research projects that are experimentally designed to evaluate if grazing systems can be used as a tool to increase sage-grouse populations,” he said.

Continue reading

Extension bulletin breaks down livestock vs. wildlife grazing competition

b1260A new bulletin from the University of Wyoming Extension covers livestock and wildlife grazing competition and the facts leading to dietary overlap.

“Dietary Composition and Conflicts of Livestock and Wildlife on Rangeland” explains the distinctions between types of roughages and the physiological reasons why animals prefer grazing on certain plant types.

Derek Scasta, assistant professor and extension rangeland specialist, said, “The interaction of livestock and wildlife on rangeland is an issue of concern not only for ranchers and wildlife managers, but the general public.”

He explained wild horses and their impact on rangelands have recently raised additional considerations.

 “In particular, competition for food resources can help guide decisions for grazing timing, duration and location, ” he said.

To download, go to and click Publications on the left-hand side of the page. Type B-1260 in the Search Publications field and follow the prompts.

UW research center open house near Lingle Aug. 21

Extension plant pathologist Bill Stump at a previous SAREC open house.

Extension plant pathologist Bill Stump at a previous SAREC open house.

Research to help producer livestock and crop decisions and profitability are offered during the open house Thursday, Aug. 21, at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) near Lingle.
The day concludes with dinner. RSVPs are requested by Saturday, Aug. 16. Contact Kelly Greenwald at 307-837-2000 or at
The schedule is:
3 p.m. – Introductions
3:20 – Presentation by animal scientist Doug Landblom of North Dakota State University, “Cost effectiveness of various wintering rations on finishing and profitability of market steers.” Landblom is a specialist at the Dickinson Research Extension Center and whose primary focus is beef cattle nutrition and management.
4 – Three-minute research presentations
4:30 – Research and poster presentations
5:30 – Dinner

Participants can visit field plots/research of their choice and meet with researchers.

Continue reading

Wyoming range management school bolsters grazing plan development

Each day of the school has a different focus.

Each day has a specific focus. See story for  subjects.

More than 27 sessions during the 2014 Wyoming Range Management School are designed to help increase understanding of premises used to develop grazing management plans.

The school, presented by the Wyoming Section Society for Range Management, is June 24-27 at the South Lincoln Training and Event Center in Kemmerer.

In general, morning sessions are at the center, and afternoon sessions are field trips to surrounding areas.

“The school has been modified from prior years to include presentations about assessing riparian areas, the economics of managing for rangeland and livestock health and allotment management planning,” said Windy Kelley, University of Wyoming Extension educator and president-elect of the Wyoming Section of SRM.

Continue reading

Free resource guide for rural acreage owners focuses on Wyoming conditions

A resource guide for Wyoming landowners written by Wyoming resource experts is available with information ranging from soil and forest issues to septic systems and growing local food.

Wyoming Rural Living Resources is available for free at University of Wyoming Extension, conservation district, weed and pest and Wyoming State Forestry Division offices.

The 76-page guide is produced by the Small Acreage Issue Team, a collaboration of UW Extension personnel and resource group representatives in Wyoming.

“The guide is a convenient, user-friendly source of practical information on common areas of interest for those living on rural acreages,” said Jennifer Thompson, team coordinator, with UW Extension. “The guide can help you keep your land healthy, help maintain or add to its value and help residents enjoy their rural lifestyles.”

Continue reading