Travis Mulliniks, Range Cattle Nutritionist
Greetings from the faculty, staff, and students at and associated with Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory.
Gudmundsen has been lucky to get timely rainfall during the growing seasons. Even with that rain, the ranch crew has done a tremendous job juggling the grazing management plan with research needs/goals while maintaining our cow numbers in the last two years of dry periods. Without John Nollette’s leadership overseeing the ranch operations at GSL, much of what we do or try to do as scientists and specialists would not have happened.
We look forward to hosting the August 25 Open House in person this year, and we are livestreaming the morning session as well. That session focuses on sustainability, and we are excited to have Jason Sawyer, King Ranch Institute of Ranch Management, and Leah Beyer, Elanco, speak on this topic. We hope to provide information geared to increase environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable practices supporting ag profitability to maintain beef production in Nebraska. We thank Elanco for their financial support of the Open House, allowing us to provide a quality program for our stakeholders. If you are not able to attend the Open House or watch the live webinar, the recorded presentations will be available gsl.unl.edu.
After a year off, the Nebraska Ranch Practicum started again this year with 31 participants in this class.
We are part of a three-state collaborative project with Montana State University and Oregon State University that secured $3 million annually for five years from the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The focus of the project is to develop and address 1)precision management in livestock nutrition and selection, 2) precision tools to monitor rangeland productivity and utilization, and 3) precision livestock and rangeland management outreach and education programs.
We are excited to see how this funding and research can impact producer productivity and sustainability. Earlier this year, Yijie Xiong, UNL Precision Livestock Management Specialist, started a preliminary study looking at the efficacy of cameras and artificial intelligence to estimate body weight and condition score of grazing livestock. Mitch Stephenson starts projects later this fall using virtual fencing. In addition, we continue with our precision supplementation research using two C-Lock pasture-based feeders. We are purchasing two more feeding systems that will allow us to weigh cattle at each feeding event. With volatile commodity markets, increased drought occurrences, and other environmental and marketing challenges, we believe these funds will help us develop new livestock, range management, and decision-making tools that allow for efficient and environmentally responsive livestock production and improving rangeland health.
Please enjoy the August 2021 GSL Researcher. If we can do anything to better serve you, please let us know.