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David Sparks Ph.d Targeted Grazing
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: February 14, 2017

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During a conversation with Dr. Karen Launchbaugh, the Director of the University of Idaho's Rangeland Center, I brought up the name, Wally Butler who was a lobbyist and an Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Range/livestock specialist. She fondly remembered Wally who passed away sometime ago. At any rate, I interviewed Wally numerous times regarding all things BLM, grazing, etc. Now to our conversation. “Wally used to say to me all the time that grazing reduces cheat grass problems. One of the challenges with fire in the West now, is cheat grass. There is much more cheat grass now than they used to be when it was introduced over 100 years ago. The problem is that it is such an excellent fuel. So cows and sheep can be used very strategically to reduce cheat grass. They can be grazed early in the spring or in the winter, and that can usually reduce cheat grass and get the benefit back to the perennial grasses. On the other hand, if you do it wrong, you can spread cheat grass. If grazing is done at a time that is detrimental to those perennial grasses, cheat grass gets the edge. My story on cheat grass is that careful grazing can really be used to manage it, but irresponsible grazing can spread cheat grass. So I'm a rancher, I want to do things responsibly, is there a grazing manual? There is a handbook called ‘Targeted grazing for landscape enhancement’ , that's a great place to start. That was put together by myself and a few other scientists. We are the editors and we brought in many different people to look at different aspects and there is a whole section on cheat grass.”

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