|This historic photo shows a depletion of the grasses.|
|The pasture shows much improvement over time with pasture rotation and time and timing of grazing.|
|The dramatic differences in the current and historic photos show the positive effects of grazing.|
At the recent range school held in Moab, one of the topics was the health of the animals and rangeland monitoring. One of the most effective tools for monitoring is the use of a camera said Floyd Reed, retired forest service range officer. He encouraged all school attendees to carry a camera. Pictures recording the beginning of the grazing season, conditions after grazing and the end of the season should all be recorded. Pictures are an accurate representation of the condition of the land. Photos are valuable to back up the permittees case should grazing come under fire.
Harley Metz, BLM ecologist said the use of maps kept from year to year is also valuable. These maps should include precipitation conditions, the time and length of grazing and other indicators. These maps can become a valuable record of conditions from year to year on the rangeland.
Another suggestion for monitoring was the utilization cage, they give more accurate information on the total production of the land and result in a better assessment of how much foliage was removed by grazing animals. It is usually best to move the cages at the end of the growing season, do not leave cages in place for more than one year, because the build-up of plant material begins to effect moisture retention inside the cage, and you can end up with overinflated production estimates.
Monitoring the rangeland is essential to determine if you are meeting your goals and objectives. Monitor to evaluate the past grazing season and plan for the next. Monitor to identify long term trends. Select key areas to monitor that are representative of the pasture as a whole in terms of soils, vegetation, slope, aspect, distance to water, etc; as it is impossible to monitor every acre. Set aside time to compile and interpret the information and plan for the upcoming growing season. Metz also recommended documenting the elk and their activity upon the allotment and any impacts to the land from recreationalists should all be part of the monitoring process.
Robby Baird LeValley from Colorado State University Extension, livestock specialist, spoke to the ranchers about animal health and nutrition. She said cattle need to be healthy to absorb the minerals from what they eat. During the drought the cows had a difficult time meeting their nutrient requirements, but they were able to pick a diet that was higher in nutrients than what was out there due to mixing. Palatability, rate of passage, digestibility, nutrient density and balance, and intake are all factors determining the degree to which the forage is able to meet the nutritional demands of the animal. Grazing management decisions can alter availability of nutrients from a rangeland situation. Grazing systems may reduce or improve forage nutritive value. Forbs are generally more nutritious than shrubs in terms of protein and phosphorus. As a plant matures the protein in the plant decreases as does the digestibility. "It pays to put interest in a plant to develop more root volume, grazing accomplishes this; a plant left ungrazed has skinnier leaves and less root growth. In exclosures where grazing hasn't been allowed for long periods of time, the plants shrink up. Plants with larger root mass are more drought resistant," said LeValley.
"Nutrition is potentially the most critical factor affecting reproduction. In most management systems, it also represents the most common limiting factor. Nutrition plays a significant role in the immune system. Nutrition plays a role in the absorption of minerals," said LeValley.
LeValley recommended cutting cows that have bad habits such as bottom dwellers and sending them to Wendy's where they can't teach the rest of the herd bad habits.
During a drought, forage quality also declines because livestock selectively graze the highest quality forage first. The amount of total energy over the landscape decreases. A prolonged drought decreases plants energy stores and results in fewer tillers and less root mass. Drought also results in shorter growing periods. Plant species on poor rangeland are less digestible than plant species on good condition range which can reduce total forage intake by livestock. The animals either can't or won't eat enough. The amount of root mass is directly related to the carbohydrates stored in the stored roots and the above ground volume is determined by the carbohydrates stored in the leaves and stems. The amount of root mass is determined by the time and timing of grazing.
Animals respond to decreased nutrition in various ways, but when nutrition is limited, reproduction is the first to go. Smaller calf weights, lower conception rates and delayed rebreeding are all factors in lowered nutrition. Lower levels of forage production equals lowered milk production as well. Good, clean water for livestock is also a factor in their growth. Calves gained on the average of 25 pounds drinking clean water versus calves drinking pond water.
Daily intake is dependent on the interaction of quality and quanity, the nutritional status of the cows is primarily affected by two major factors; forage quantity and forage quality. The microorganism in the rumen that must unlock (digest) the energy in the forage to make it available to the ruminant. To digest forage, the microorganisms require nitrogen, which is primarily found in protein. Protein is in the form of leaves. As the vigor of the range improves, the quality of the range improves due to increased leaf production and thus the consumption by the animal increases. The animal balances its protein and energy needs by having a wide variety of forages available for consumption.
Plants contain their greatest nutrient value before maturity. Plants in a vegetative state generally contain 10 percent crude protein. Diets from dormant range contain between 4 and 7 percent crude protein with higher concentrations occurring in late summer and early fall. Range nutrition makes an impact on the animals, cows in better condition and have adequate energy are better able to eat foods high in toxins. The same was shown in the copper study, animals who had adequate protein and energy utilized the available copper better.
LeValley mentioned that some of the ranchers she works with did not show decreases in conception rates during the drought due to better animal health and nutrition. LeValley talked about the cows and their choices of food and how they are determined. Factors include: mother knows best, peer pressure, individual trial and error and inherited characteristics. LeValley concluded her remarks by saying, "Real life experience is considered legitimate research and range management is a lot of art mixed with science."
|Sgt. Tom Harrison points out some of the drug paraphernalia.|
On Jan. 27, the Helper police department alerted the Emery County Sheriff's Office that they needed assistance in apprehending a couple who had taken their daughter out of foster care in Helper and then returned to Orangeville. George Zamatakis, Helper police chief, requested the assistance of Det. Greg Funk from the Emery County Drug Task Force.
The couple had been followed from Helper to Orangeville and police set-up surveillance on the Orangeville home where the runaway daugher and another daughter with a $15,000 warrant out of Carbon County were being harbored.
The man left the residence and was followed to Ferron by Det. Sgt. Robert Blackburn and Det. Funk while the Carbon Metro Drug Task Force continued watching the house. The vehicle returned to Orangeville and the girls were not in the vehicle. Officers approached the residence and Chief Zamatakis recognized the male, the officers were let in the residence and the three females tried to escape out the backdoor. Everyone was rounded up and gathered in the living room where Crystal Lint was arrested for the warrant out of Carbon County and the juvenile was transported to the detention center in Price.
In the process of putting Lint into the police car, Sgt. Gayle Jensen noticed and recovered a meth pipe in her possession. Sgt. Jensen alerted Sgt. Tom Harrison to the fact and it was determined there was probable cause to request a search warrant. Police asked the male subject if they could search the house and he consented to a search. The search yielded two ounces of methamphetamine, several items of drug paraphernalia, scales, large amounts of cash and other items to facilitate the sale of methampetamine. Street value of the meth was estimated at $5,000.
The subjects, Ricky Lamond Cloward and Leisa Ann Cloward were arrested for possession with intent to distribute in a drug free zone and taken to the Emery County jail. Possible charges against the couple are pending in Carbon County for taking their child from foster care. Lint will also appear in court in Emery County for the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Charges against the couple are first degree felonies which could pack a sentence of five years to life, maximum. Sgt. Harrison mentioned the subjects were very cooperative during the arrest and they appreciated that.
Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon said, "It was through the cooperation of the various agencies that made these arrests possible and prevented this meth from getting onto the streets." The Carbon Metro Drug Task Force has been investigating these subjects for some time.