Extension activities have focused on ruminant nutrition and beef cattle management. Information regarding nutrition and management is presented to producers, county agents and other specialists at various county meetings and extension in-services and through newsletters and popular press articles. Other activities involved in-depth training in the use of ultrasonography for live animal evaluation of beef cattle carcasses and facilitating Integrated Resource Management activities for beef producers in southwestern North Dakota.
Research activities also involve both ruminant nutrition and management. Alternative crops were fed to growing calves, pigs and lambs (Hettinger Research Extension Center). Data were presented at county, state regional and national meetings. A collaborative study between NDSU (Fargo) and DREC scientists evaluated the influence of season on the dietary composition, intake and digestion of beef steers grazing mixed-grass prairie This project supported one graduate (MS) student where Dr. Poland served on the students graduate committee. A four-year study evaluating the potential of grazing annual forages to support cow/calf production was concluded.
A study was initiated to evaluate an innovative stair-stepped beef heifer development program (original concept was developed for dairy heifers by researchers at NDSU). DREC was approached by a private company to help evaluate, video image analysis procedure for use in classifying cattle by overall size and muscular shape. Opportunities are excellent for extending this technology into the cow/calf sector of the beef industry.
The Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS) and DATALINE programs have integrated performance record keeping analysis from conception to consumption. The CHAPS and DATALINE inventory-based record keeping systems offer cattle industry participants the ability to track the origin of beef. Data suggest that CHAPS producers avoided the staggering losses experienced in the cow-calf business nationally and that CHAPS participants were able to contribute to the economy of their local area. DATALINE proved to be a real attraction to all segments of the industry because the feedlot industry (backgrounding and finishing yards), the packing plants and the retailers were able to establish meaningful, grassroots relationships with progressive cow-calf producers.
The Heifer Development Project at the DREC is another success story involving CHAPS producers interested in developing high quality replacement females for their operation or for sale. The program involves between 200 and 300) heifer calves managed at the DREC Ranch. Data are collected on performance, fertility and other tests conducted on the females. Producer satisfaction with the program is so good that a planned sale of bred heifers in the fall was canceled because producers wanted to keep their heifers.
Data collection was completed for a five-year CRP study, which will be analyzed as a cooperative project With the Central Grassland Research Center at Streeter ND. We are currently cooperating with Sheyenne Advanced Feeding Systems of Cooperstown, ND, on a proto-type portable, electronic individual feeding system for cattle an pasture. the DREC cooperated with Dr. Hendrick J. Meyer, Entomology Department at NDSU, on a cattle louse control study using Belgium blue crossbred calves, and on a horn fly control study using cow-calf pairs.
Dr. Kris Ringwall, DREC Director
Doug Landblom, Beef Specialist
Garry Ottmar, Ranch Manager
Wanda Ottmar, Info. Processing Specialist
Chad Smith, Research Specialist
Bob Paluck, Ag Research Technician
Dean Nelson, Ag Research Technician
Steven Schwindt, Ag Research Technician