Great Plains Grazing Quarterly eNewsletter


From the Director

Welcome to the Great Plains Grazing eNewsletter! The goal of the Great Plains Grazing project is to increase the resiliency of beef cattle operations on grazing lands and wheat pasture, both dual purpose and graze-out, so they can better sustain productivity in the future through a wide range of potential climate changes. The project team is working with ranchers and farmers to evaluate management practices and suggest changes for better resiliency related to:

  • Improved grazing management
  • Increased water use efficiency
  • More diversified forage sources
  • Development of multiple marketing options
  • Strategic drought planning
  • Improved soil and water quality
  • Ways to provide more stable farm household incomes

Our project team, consists of over 40 investigators from Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, Tarleton State University, USDA-ARS and the Noble Foundation. As our project is moving forward and we are getting more accomplished I am getting more and more excited about the impact our project will have on the beef industry. 

Please check our project website for additional information on project accomplishments and plans. You may also want to join our mailing list for the latest news about the project research, events, and publications.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, feel free to contact me at or (785) 532-0393.


Tools and Apps

Canopeo for AndroidiPhone and MatLab
Canopeo is a rapid and accurate green canopy cover measurement tool. Use this app to quantify the percent canopy cover of live green vegetation for any agricultural crop, turf, or grassland based on downward-facing photos taken with your mobile device.



Need help using Canopeo? Check the official website.

Field Photo Weekend

During Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7th, you can join a citizen science effort to document land cover and land use change by participating in our ninth "Field Photo Weekend".

All you have to do is take your camera or smartphone, find a landscape in your community (streams, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, a forest, a crop field, a pasture, etc.) and take a single photo or a panorama in four different directions (N, E, S, W) from where you are standing. After that you can either email your photos with your location to:, or upload them directly to the Earth Observation and Modeling Facility's photo archive. If you have a smartphone, you can use the “Field Photo” app. Be sure to add “#CoCoRaHSMay15” to your keywords. For detailed instructions, click here.

Field Photo Weekend is a partnership between CoCoRaHS, the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) and the Earth Observation and Modeling Facility (EOMF) to help ground truth through photos, what is going on with our landscapes throughout the country. In a few weeks this weekend's photos will be posted and you'll be able to see your photos and those taken by other volunteers. Reference the “FIELD PHOTO WEEKENDS” page to see how to view the photos.

Thanks in advance for participating and have a great Labor Day weekend!

In Case You Missed It

Recent articles, blog posts, radio interviews and other timely info from our team.

Cover Crops as Forage for Beef Cattle
July 23, 2015 - Agriculture Today
K-State beef systems specialist Jaymelynn Farney discusses the use of various cover crops as grazing forages for beef cattle in the fall and winter. She goes over the cover crop types and their forage production potential, and talks about K-State research into the best utilization of these crops for cow herd or stocker grazing.
Listen to full audio

Jason Warren named Thomas E Berry Fellow
July 11, 2015 - OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Project Extension co-lead Jason Warren announced as one of four Thomas E. Berry Fellow by the Oklahoma Water Resources Center.
Read full article here

Jean Steiner Interviewed for Radio Oklahoma Network
​July 9, 2015 - Agricultural News, Radio Oklahoma Network
Co-Principal Investigator Jean Steiner discussed the current mission of the ARS research unit including the recent designation of the Lab as the Southern Region Climate Hub for ARS and the USDA as well as the Great Plains Grazing project. 
Read full article and listen to audio
Summer Weed Management Promotes Healthy Pastures
July, 2015 by James Locke
We usually think of pasture weed management as a springtime activity, and rightly so. If early-season weeds are not controlled, they will compete with desirable forages…read more


August 2015​​

2015 Risk and Profit Conference
Dealing with Drought: The Effects and Economics of Drought in Agriculture

Topics: Extreme weather and crops, cattle cycles, farm policy and drought risk, livestock and grain market outlooks.

Location: KSU Alumni Center, Manhattan, KS
Date: August 20-21, 2015
Time: 10:30 am August 20

Registration fee: $175 prior to August 14, $200 after (includes all sessions, plus proceedings on a CD, parking, and meals)
More information


Fall Cattle Seminar
Topics: Weaning management, strategies of supplementation, and market considerations.

Location: Southern Oklahoma Technology Center, Seminar A, 2610 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK
Date: August 25, 2015
Time: 1:00 pm

Registration: n/a
More information


​Summer Integrity Beef Meeting
Topics: Increasing brand recognition of ranch-raised calves, adding stacked value-added traits, and volume sales of
high quality calves.

Location: Noble Foundation Pavilion, Ardmore, OK
Date: August 25, 2015
Time: 5:30 pm

Registration fee: Free for members, $20 for non-members
More information

September 2015

Eastern Kansas Grazing School
A two-day workshop on Management intensive Grazing (MiG) for beginning and experienced graziers. 

Location: Allen County Fairground and Allen County Community College, Iola, KS
Date: September 9-10, 2015
Time: 7:30 am September 9

Registration: $50 for the first person on a farm and $25 for additional participants from the same farm
More information


Innovations in Intensive Beef Cow Production, Care and Management
Topics: Utilization of intensive and semi confined production systems to improve beef cow efficiency and profitability.

Location: Skirvin Hotel, 1 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK
Date: September 17-18, 2015
Time: 9:00 am September 17

Registration: $125 (pre-registration), $150 (general registration)
More information

Beef Stocker Field Day
Topics: Practical information on beef stocker management including optimizing your operation and increasing operation flexibility.

Location: Beef Stocker Unit, Manhattan, KS
Date: September 24, 2015
Time: 9:30 am - 7:00 pm

Registration: $25 by September 15, 2015 (includes barbeque brisket lunch, Call Hall ice cream & prairie oysters)
More information

Webinar Series

The first Great Plains Grazing Webinar will be held next week.

Extreme Drought to Extreme Rainfall
Mechanisms the Produce Heavy Precipitation in the Great Plains

1:30pm (CT) Tuesday August 25, 2015

Dr. Jeffrey Basara

Director, Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station
Director of Research, Oklahoma Climatological Survey
Associate Professor, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma

Upcoming Webinars:

Use of the N-Rich Strip and Active Sensors for Nitrogen Management to Reduce Risk and Increase Profits
1:00pm  - September 21, 2015

Dr. Brian Arnall
Assistant Professor, Precision Nutrient Management
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University

Join our mailing list to receive emails with dates and times to keep up to date on our research resources related to grazing in the Southern Great Plains Region.

Research Spotlight

The social science team is gearing up for a major producer survey early this fall. Leaders of this survey project are Gerad Middendorf and Terrie Becerra in the Department of Sociology at Kansas State University. This is a follow-up to an earlier survey of Extension agents in Kansas and Oklahoma designed to gauge their attitudes toward climate change.
The new survey will involve producers in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas who are involved in grazing based beef cattle production including dual-purpose wheat production. The purpose is to find out producers’ attitudes on climate change and the sustainability and resiliency of their production systems. The survey will ask producers questions such as:

  • How confident are you in your ability to make changes to adapt to climate change?
  • How important will a cost-sharing program be in deciding whether to implement any specific practices to adapt to climate change?
  • How reliant are you on income from your farming operation?

This survey is part of an overall effort to examine the current status of the cattle grazing/wheat production system in the Great Plains, and where that system may be vulnerable to climate change. The results will be analyzed, then used to help Extension agents and specialists develop outreach programs.

Back to top 


New article in Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Christian, J., Christian, K., & Basara, J. B. (2015). Drought and Pluvial Dipole Events within the Great Plains of the United States. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 150612105243000.


Dong et al. (2011) documented a dipole drought and pluvial event with a year of drought in 2006 followed by a year of abundant rainfall in 2007 within Oklahoma and the surrounding Southern Great Plains (SGP). The purpose of this study was to quantify dipole events for various spatial scales including the nine Oklahoma climate divisions, the Southern Great Plains, the High Plains (HP), and the Northern Great Plains (NGP) of the United States. Analyses revealed that, on average, over twice as many standard deviation (STDEV) dipoles existed in the latter half of the dataset (1955-2013) compared to the first half (1896-1954), suggesting that dramatic increases in precipitation from one year to the next within the Oklahoma climate divisions are increasing with time. For the larger regions within the Great Plains of the United States, the percent chance of a significant pluvial year following a significant drought year was approximately 25% of the time for the SGP and NGP, and approximately 16% of the time for the HP. The STDEV dipole analyses further revealed that the frequency of dipoles were consistent between the first and second half of the dataset for the NGP and HP, but were increasing with time in the SGP. Finally, the temporal periods of anomalous precipitation during relative pluvial years within the STDEV dipole events were unique for each region whereby October occurred most frequently (70%) within the SGP, September occurred most frequently (60%) within the HP, and May occurred most frequently (62%) within the NGP.


Great Plains Grazing is a coordinated effort by a regional network of researchers and extension specialists to adapt grazing strategies to changing conditions.
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