SAREC Closer to Fulfilling Integrated Research Mission

July 30, 2008
Man speaking
Extension Beef Specialist Steve Paisley presents steer data by sire and cull cow feeding research data during field day at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center near Lingle.

Those touring trials at the field day July 24 at the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture's research center near Lingle saw the facility has started hitting on all cylinders - or at least all four feet.

Stops during the field day tours included several livestock trials, getting closer to the mission of generating integrated crop and livestock research producers can use.

"We are not there yet, but we are on our way," Larry Cundall, chairman of the advisory board to the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC), said during the field day.

SAREC comprises 1,522 acres of dry land cropland, 349 acres of irrigated cropland, 1,880 acres of rangeland, 19 acres of irrigated organic cropland and 40 acres of dry land organic cropland.

"It's exciting we are finally getting an economist here," said Cundall, a Platte County producer. "That's going to be the key that makes this work."

John Ritten will join SAREC Aug. 19 and will also be a member of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture. He received his doctorate from Colorado State University.

Cundall said, "From the beginning, that was the part we thought would make this gel. That's the part producers needed to make all the parts work together." Cundall was a member of the original review committee that created the SAREC mission almost a decade ago.

The other two parts are a director of research and a beef cattle specialist, both housed at SAREC, to help generate appropriate research for Wyoming producers.

"We are getting more and more involved with animal science," said Director of Research Jim Krall. "We are getting back more into an integrated focus. There are a number of good animal science projects out here."

Krall showcased oilseed crops, including camelina and canola, during the tour.

Beef specialist Steve Paisley told tour participants about various feedlot research projects, including steer data by sire and the cull cow feeding project. He also discussed the GrowSafe Systems feeding technology, which uses radio frequency identification tags to record individual feed data and ultimately residual feed intake (RFI). RFI is the amount of feed needed to add weight, said Paisley. Cattle with a greater feed efficiency can be identified.

The feed bins record what animal begins feeding, and when, how long and the weight of the feed remaining when the animal leaves. Data is available at SAREC and Laramie and at GrowSafe headquarters near Calgary, Canada. The technology is so sensitive it recorded when a raccoon visited the bin.

SAREC is also researching the rotational use of paddocks to graze cattle. The paddocks are pivot irrigated and use lay down posts with electric fences.

Roundup Ready sugar beets are being studied by Professor Gray Franc and Research Associate William Stump, both of the Department of Plant Sciences.

"With the adoption of Roundup Ready sugar beets on the High Plains and Wyoming, it gives growers a pretty efficient way to control weeds in their sugar beet crop," said Franc, extension plant pathology specialist. "There has been some anecdotal evidence that when Roundup is applied to plants normally resistant to rhizoctonia root rot, it changes resistance to the disease. We might see changes in weed pressure we might have to address."

The first aboveground symptoms of rhizoctonia root and crown rot are wilting of the foliage and a dull leaf color, followed by yellowing and death of tissue usually beginning on the older leaves.

Numerous research projects are occurring at SAREC. For information, please call office associate Kelly Greenwald or Jim Freeburn, director of operations, at (307) 837-2000.

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