The objective of range research is to develop management strategies that increase herbage production and improve wildlife habitat, domestic livestock performance, the economic status of North Dakota producers, and the biological performance of grassland ecosystems. Research is directed at understanding manipulation of mechanisms and processes of both the symbiotic soil organisms in the rhizosphere and vegetative tillering from axillary buds so that this understanding might be applied to the development of these management strategies.
Dickinson Research Extension Center collaborates with various departments at NDSU and other agencies. Some of those collaborative studies include:
A study to determine the impact that defoliation by grazing has on grassland plant species composition and biomass and to determine optimum seasons of use of domesticated grass pastures and native range, based on phenology, tiller development and livestock performance. (In collaboration with the Department of Animal and Range Sciences).
A study on comparison and correlation of non-destructive cover monitoring techniques with standard biomass growth curves. As a result of manipulation of biological mechanisms and processes in the grassland ecosystems, treatments using rotation management increase herbage biomass production and increase cow and calf production on less acreage. (In collaboration with the Department of Animal and Range Sciences.)
A study in collaboration with the USDA-ARS, to determine the effects of cultural management practices on grasshopper populations. Grasshopper growth and development are affected by conditions of insects' microhabitats, which can be manipulated by the cultural management practices of grazing and mowing.
Phase II of a study to develop usable strategies for 12-month forage management for livestock production and to compare the cost of production and operation of these strategies. (In collaboration with the NDSU Department of Agricultural Economics.)
The range extension program provides information through written reports and publications and through oral presentations, papers, seminars, lectures, in-service and workshops. Range-site field tours are conducted to illustrate and explain management principles.
On-ranch evaluations and recommendations about management strategies that manipulate biological mechanisms, improve efficient use of natural resources and correct management practices that hamper plant and animal production are also provided by the range staff.
Llewellyn Manske, Ph.D.