Great Plains Grazing Quarterly eNewsletter

From the Director

I had the opportunity to meet with the extension team in Stillwater on October 13 and many of our investigators at a field tour of the Grazinglands Research Laboratory in El Reno on October 14.  I thank our OSU and USDA-ARS friends for being such great hosts. Our extension team has set lofty goals and outcomes and it is great to see them develop educational materials and deliver their educational programs. The fall intensive campaign at El Reno was very successful and I look forward to seeing the results.
The next project annual project meeting will be held in Stillwater on June 15-16.  The research team will be having a research symposium the date before, June 14, again in Stillwater. 
Our funds for year three of the project have been released by USDA-NIFA and I am very excited about what we will accomplish in our third year of funding.
Keep up the good work,


Fall Intensive Campaign

The intensive campaign concluded on October 16, when Rick Todd and Larry Fulton packed up and headed for Bushland.  There was a major focus on enteric methane emissions from native pasture using Rick's laser method at the field scale, the OU-ARS eddy correlation method at the landscape scale, and the ARS Greenfeed method for individual animal emissions. Cattle in the study had GPS collars built by Corey Moffet to determine their location in the field relative to instrumentation. Jim Neel and Ken Turner led efforts to determine feed intake. During the campaign, Corey completed a VLSA digital photographic mapping of vegetative communities and Pat Starks led efforts to collect the plant samples.  Brek Peterson Munks led the soil GHG and biology measurements. Pat Starks led soil microclimate monitoring with the automated network of stations. Pradeep monitored the instrumentation at the iGOS site and many ARS staff and OU students supported the data collection.  
During the campaign, the modeling team met to refine the work plan for enteric methane modeling, the Extension team met at Stillwater and then traveled to El Reno for a discussion of research-Extension linkage.  About 22 team members had a field tour of the intensive campaign and additional sites at El Reno that contribute to Grazing CAP efforts.  The intensive campaign was also one of the stops featured for over 200 visitors to the GRL Field Day 2015.  

The animal team plans one additional campaign on native prairie during the dormant season and the efforts will switch to other forage types, including grazed wheat.  Results from the intensive campaigns will be featured at the Research Symposium planned for Year 4.

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A new series of eight videos which address ways of adapting to unusually wet conditions, extreme heat or cold, and other extremes has been produced and posted online. The videos compile the most successful practices used by cow-calf and beef stocker producers.
“Many of these strategies, such as diversification or early weaning, are certainly not new. But they have been some of the more successful ways producers have been flexible enough to survive the drought. Our goal is to make a series of videos on ways cattle producers can successfully adapt to different climate extremes and archive them all in one location,” Justin Waggoner, Beef Cattle Systems Specialist at Kansas State University said.

The videos are available on the Great Plains Grazing program’s web site:



Tools and Apps

Cattle Comfort Advisor
The Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor estimates cattle comfort levels based on data from the Oklahoma Mesonet and National Weather Service forecasts. The Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor runs continuously monitoring heat or cold stress on a year-round basis.


Need help using the Cattle Comfort Advisor? Check out the video and print tutorials.

In Case You Missed It

Recent articles, blog posts, and other timely info from/about our team.

Proper Management Promotes Fall, Winter Grazing
October 2015 - Ag News and Views
James Rogers discusses how to manage for high quality forage availability in fall and winter.

Read full article here

September 2015 Ag Weather Roundup

October 15, 2015 - Weather & Agriculture: A Plains Perspective
Al Sutherland discusses crop maturity and Oklahoma's September weather.
Read full article here


Minimizing Stress on Weaning Calves
September 28, 2015 - Agriculture Today
Justin Waggoner discusses several principles of fall calf weaning, to assure the smoothest transition possible...with the main theme being minimizing stress on those calves.
Listen to full audio here


New Team Members

James Rogers
Rogers recently joined the team as the lead for the Samuel R. Noble Foundation. He serves as an assistant professor on the Agricultural Division's Agricultural Research Team at Noble as well as a pasture and range consultant in the division's consultation program. His research interests include tall fescue management, short season niche forages and grazing management. As a consultant, his practical experience along with this research aids regional agricultural producers in forage selection and establishment, grazing management, stocking rate, forage production and management.

Prior to the Noble Foundation, Rogers was a livestock specialist with the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension for 10 years. His work concerned grazing systems to enhance both forage and livestock performance.

Romulo Lollato
Romulo Lollato recently joined the Grazing CAP team as the Wheat and Forages Extension Specialist with Kansas State University. His duties within the Grazing CAP team include developing, processing, and reporting information regarding best management practices of wheat grown for pasture and grain in southern Kansas. Information developed from his program will guide producers in the decision-making process of managing grazing intensity and grazing termination so wheat yields are not compromised, among other collaborative efforts that include wheat pasture greenhouse gas emissions and fertility recommendations. Romulo received his B.S. in Agronomy in his home-country of Brazil, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, where he worked with wheat production systems until July of 2015.  

Stephen Teet
Stephen Teet recently joined the Grazing CAP team as the Coordinator of the Southern Plains Long Term Agroecosystem Research site.  In his new role, he will support and coordinate collection, processing, and reporting of the basic LTAR data sets, which also support Grazing CAP.  Stephen has been working at GRL for 2 years supporting remote sensing, GIS, and APEX modeling efforts.  He received his B.S. in Environmental Science at UNM and his M.S. in Environmental Science at UNC.  He has prior experience at the Sevilleta LTER site. 


Webinar Series

We've had four great webinars so far. Thanks to Jeff Basara, Brian Arnall, Dave Lalman, and Al Sutherland for getting us off to such a great start. This month's webinar will be presented by Justin Waggoner from Kansas State University on winter nutrition.

Upcoming Webinar:

Winter Nutrition and Supplementation
1:30pm(CT) - December 15, 2015

Register here!

Justin Waggoner
Associate Professor/Extension Specialist, Animal Sciences and Industry
Kansas State University

Justin Waggoner is the Beef Systems Specialist at Kansas State University’s Southwest Area Extension Office in Garden City. Waggoner specializes in nutritional and management strategies that improve profitability and the influence of nutrition and management practices on cattle health and performance.

Past Webinars:
If you missed our previous webinar, you can find the full video archived on our webinar page.



New article in Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Moorhead, J., Gowda, P., Hobbins, M., Senay, G., Paul, G., Marek, T., & Porter, D. (2015). Accuracy Assessment of NOAA Gridded Daily Reference Evapotranspiration for the Texas High Plains. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 51(5), 1262–1271.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides daily reference evapotranspiration (ETref) maps for the contiguous United States using climatic data from North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS). This data provides large-scale spatial representation of ETref, which is essential for regional scale water resources management. Data used in the development of NOAA daily ETref maps are derived from observations over surfaces that are different from short (grass — ETos) or tall (alfalfa — ETrs) reference crops, often in nonagricultural settings, which carries an unknown discrepancy between assumed and actual conditions. In this study, NOAA daily ETos and ETrs maps were evaluated for accuracy, using observed data from the Texas High Plains Evapotranspiration (TXHPET) network. Daily ETos, ETrs and the climatic data (air temperature, wind speed, and solar radiation) used for calculating ETref were extracted from the NOAA maps for TXHPET locations and compared against ground measurements on reference grass surfaces. NOAA ETref maps generally overestimated the TXHPET observations (1.4 and 2.2 mm/day ETos and ETrs, respectively), which may be attributed to errors in the NLDAS modeled air temperature and wind speed, to which reference ETref is most sensitive. Therefore, a bias correction to NLDAS modeled air temperature and wind speed data, or adjustment to the resulting NOAA ETref, may be needed to improve the accuracy of NOAA ETref maps.
Access to full publication


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Evaluation Update

We’ve been working on a few pieces of the Great Plains Grazing project at OEIE over the past few months:
  • Interviewing project leadership to find out more about how the project’s goals are being implemented as it moves into its fourth year.
  • Working with the social science team to take a fresh look at some data from the 2014 Extension Agent survey.
  • Consulting with project collaborators to help detect the impact of extension activities on farmers and ranchers.
Two members of OEIE’s Grazing CAP team also attended the October field day at ARS Grazinglands, which provided a great perspective on the project’s unprecedented contributions to research. There’s a world of difference between reading achievement summaries and actually seeing a GreenFeed system in its natural habitat, and we can’t thank Dr. Steiner and her colleagues enough for hosting us!

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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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