Great Plains Grazing eNewsletter

From the Director

I hope you had a great holiday season!  It is always good to get away and get recharged!  I am excited for 2017!
In December I attended the USDA-NIFA Climate Project Director’s meeting in San Francisco with our project manager, Amber Campbell, and Xiangming Xiao our lead from OU.  We presented a summary of our project and also were able to listen to summaries of other NIFA funded climate projects.  We also had a chance to discuss and give some guidance to the NIFA project staff on where to possibly go with future climate grant programs.  
This week I am heading to El Reno, Norman, and Stillwater to meet with project leaders and collaborators to get updated on our project progress at the USDA-ARS, OU and OSU.  I hope to get to Tarleton State later to meet with project members there.
I have further discussed with USDA NIFA the possibility of seeing additional funding for years 6-10.  We still need to work through the details but it is encouraging that we may be able to continue our good work towards finding solutions and getting them implemented.
Please contact me if you have any questions.


GeoCARB Satellite Mission

NASA has selected a first-of-its-kind Earth science mission that will extend our nation’s lead in measuring key greenhouse gases and vegetation health from space to advance our understanding of Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean. Xiangming Xiao, team member and lead investigator for the University of Oklahoma on the Great Plains Grazing project will lead the effort for plant health and vegetation stress

Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory will monitor plant health and vegetation stress and probe the natural sources.


In Case You Missed It

Recent articles, blog posts, and other timely info from/about our team as well as news items of interest to beef producers.

Winter Offers Ideal Time for Key Forage Management Activities
December 2016 - Hugh Aljoe, Ag News and Views
Winter is
the ideal time to perform some key activities that allow us to better manage our pastures and grazing for the coming growing season including summarizing production and grazing records, analyzing last year's management plan, and drafting next year's management plan.
Read full article here

Cattle Comfort Rollercoaster
December 2016 - Albert Sutherland, Weather and Agriculture: A Plains Perspective
Oklahoma’s weather roller coaster has opened for business. And on the farm, the cattle are feeling it. Warm, cold, warm, cold and how about a day of drizzle that turned to freezing rain with a biting wind
Read full article here

Crop Conditions Deteriorate as Drought Invades Kansas
December 2016 - Kansas Wheat
Romulo Lollato, wheat and forages extension specialist for Kansas State University discusses the condition of wheat throughout Kansas.

Read full article here

One of the main goals of the Great Plains Grazing project is to train the next generation of producers and researchers to collectively address rising challenges. This month we are highlighting Audrey King's research as a M.S. student in Agricultural Education and Communication at Kansas State University.

My research
This study sought to understand why producers did not adopt grazing best management practices suggested by Extension professionals and to identify opportunities to improve communication and adoption of those practices.

Why I did it
Increased best management practice adoption improves the resiliency of a producer's operation and widespread adoption of many of these practices would increase the resiliency of the beef-cattle industry as a whole.

How I did it
I conducted one-on-one interviews with over 40 producers from south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma. I asked them about their current practices and how they came to use the practices they did as well as the barriers they saw to adopting

Important Findings
Through this research I learned that each producer's operation is unique. Their challenges, obstacles, barriers, goals, and resources are all different. One single solution will not fit every producer's operation. In order to really effect change Extension professionals should make an effort to personalize communication to these producers and find solutions to the challenges and barriers to adoption as they assist producers in reaching their goals.

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Upcoming Events

Cover Crops Informational Meeting
Topics: Production practices, variety selection, fertility, updated KSU research summaries
Date: January 23, 2017
Location: Lincoln, KS
Registration: RSVP is requested by January 20 either online ( or by calling any Post Rock District Office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.
More information

2017 No-till on the Plains Winter Conference
Topics: No-till production systems in the plains
Date: January 24-25, 2017
Location: Bicentennial Center, Salina, KS
Registration: $300 in until January 18, $375 after January 19
More information

Prescribed Burning Workshops
Topics: reasons for burning, regulations, weather considerations, liability, burn contractors, equipment and crew, hazards, fuels, firebreaks, fire types and behavior, ignition techniques, and burn plans.
Date: January 25, 2017
Location: Eureka
Contact: Ryan Schaub K-State University, 620-583-7455
More information on other dates and locations

Coffee Shop Agronomy: Cover Crop Impact on Subsequent Crop Yields

Topics: Cover crops and crop yields following cover crops
Date: January 26, 2017
Location: Nelson's Landing 107 N Erpelding Road Leonardville KS 66449
Registration: Free, but requested for handouts and refreshments.
More information

KSRE Winter Ranch Management Series
Topics: Profit enhancing strategies for animal health, nutrition, management, genetics and reproduction.
Registration: Vary by location, due one week prior to event.
More information

Date:        Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017; 5 – 8:30 PM (MOUNTAIN TIME)
Location:   Hamilton Co. Fairgrounds, 806 Main St.
Syracuse, KS 67878
RSVP by Jan. 31, 2017 to:
–    Jenifer Sexson – 620-384-5225 or

Upcoming Webinar


Grazing Cover Crops in Cropland
Jason Warren
Soil and Water Conservation/Management Extension Specialist
Oklahoma State University

1:30pm(CT) - January 27, 2017

Register here!

This webinar will provide information on the benefits of grazing cover crops on cropland in the southern U.S. as well as provide insight on successful management and potential negative impacts of improper management.

Webinar participants can expect to learn:
  • fundamentals of forage value of annual cover crops
  • timing and method of grazing to obtain best utilization
  • balance between forage quantity and quality
  • impacts on soil and whole-farm production
Dr. Jason Warren currently serves on the faculty of Oklahoma State University as an associate professor, and soil and water conservation/management extension specialist. Jason grew up on a small grain and cattle farm in Woods Co. OK. He earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences in 1999 and M.S. in Plant and Soil Sciences in 2001 at Oklahoma State University. Jason continued his education at Virginia Tech, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences in 2005 and then spent two years as a Post Doctoral Research Soil Scientist at the USDA-ARS Animal Waste Management Research Unit in Bowling Green, KY. Dr. Warren’s research and extension efforts focus on management practices to reduce soil erosion and improve soil quality in both the agricultural and urban landscapes. He is also engaged in activities aimed at increasing water use efficiency and reducing the transport of contaminates to surface and subsurface waters.

The webinar series aims to provide research-based information, and is targeted for producers and extension agents. Previous webinars are archived and more information is available at



New article in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Wagle, P., Xiao, X., Gowda, P., Basara, J., Brunsell, N., Steiner, J., & K.C, A. (2017). Analysis and estimation of tallgrass prairie evapotranspiration in the central United States. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 232, 35–47.
Read the full article here

Several project team members presented on their research at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

Carbon dioxide and Water Vapor Fluxes of Winter Wheat and Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystems
Bajgain, R., Xiao, X., Basara, J. B., Wagle, P., Zhou, Y., Gowda, P., … Steiner, J. (2016, December). Poster presented at the AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Detecting the fingerprints of complex land management practices in a tallgrass prairie site using PhenoCam, satellite remote sensing, and the eddy covariance technique
Zhou, Y., Xiao, X., Wagle, P., Bajgain, R., Mahan, H., Basara, J. B., … Neel, J. (2016). Presented at the AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Increased in Variability in Climatological Means and Extremes in the Great Plains
Basara, J. B., Flanagan, P. X., Christian, J., & Christian, K. (2016, December). Poster presented at the AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Carbon and Water Vapor Fluxes of Different Ecosystems in Oklahoma
Wagle, P., Gowda, P. H., & Northup, B. (2016, December). Poster presented at the AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

GRL-FLUXNET: Measuring GHG, Water, and Microbial Fluxes in the Southern Great Plains
Gowda, P. H., Steiner, J. L., Wagle, P., & Northup, B. (2016, December). Poster presented at the AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Downscaled Soil Moisture from SMAP Evaluated Using High Density Observations
Wakefield, R. A., Basara, J. B., Fang, B., Lakshmi, V., Starks, P. J., Cosh, M. H., … Illston, B. (2016, December). Poster presented at the AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.


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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