EOARC Newsletter - Fall 2021

A Note from Dave:

I hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather of Fall!  This past summer was busy at EOARC and we wanted to highlight the recent publications from our faculty to give you an idea of the diversity and productivity of their programs.  See the list of publications later in this newsletter.

This past year has been one of the driest on record.  As a result, EOARC and many of our stakeholders have had to deal with limited forage availability and production and poor cattle performance.  Now livestock producers are facing exorbitant winter feed costs – let’s hope for a cold winter with a good snow pack and timely and productive spring rains!!!

I do want to share some great news!  We recently received notification from OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) that EOARC Union was approved to hire 2 faculty positions.  These are an Associate Station Director and a tenure-track faculty member specializing in the Rangeland Sciences discipline.  Both of these positions will be stationed at EOARC Union and will have research and teaching appointments.  The teaching responsibilities will include providing instruction to support OSU’s Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department (AnRS) and Eastern Oregon Agriculture and Natural Resource Program (EOANRP) at EOU.  The intent is to expand the experiential learning opportunities available to students and to improve and strengthen the collaboration and partnership with EOARC, AnRS, and EOANRP.  The search process for both positions is currently underway.

Another project that has been recently completed is the Statewide Needs Assessment for Oregon’s cattle industry.  This is the culmination of a process that began almost 1 year ago by the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU, AnRS, and EOARC, and involved listening sessions with key stakeholder groups and advisory boards and CAS faculty.  Needs and opportunities were identified in several major areas for both research and outreach and Extension programs including: animal reproduction, health, nutrition and welfare; grazing management; environmental issues; technology; and economics, marketing and processing.  Needs for improving the college’s academic programs and facilities were also identified, and several key faculty positions needed to address these needs were recognized.  The full report can be found here.

Early in November, we will be collecting and editing research and progress reports from the OSU faculty that were funded by the Oregon Beef Council to conduct research related to either Animal Science or Rangeland Science.  This summary publication will be provided to the Oregon Beef Council and will be made available to everyone here along with all the prior annual reports since 2009.  Also in November, representatives of EOARC have been asked to participate in a Breakout Session at the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Annual meeting in Pendleton (November 21-23).  We will provide an update on the virtual fence research we have conducted over the last couple of years and will talk about existing collaborations and future projects being planned that should provide the science to help develop tools that benefit land and livestock management.  We hope to see many of you all there!!

David Bohnert
Director, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (Burns and Union Stations)
Oregon State University

A Note from Chad:

This summer was an unfortunate reminder of the devastating impacts of wildfire on sagebrush rangelands.  I join everyone in hoping that these impacts can serve as a catalyst for pre-emptive fuels management to help decrease the probability of fire ignition and spread, and to increase the success of suppression efforts. 

To capitalize on that hope, we need the tools and organizational frameworks that help us to prepare for and manage against wildfire before it happens.  To that end, and as I’ve previously detailed in this column, Burns ARS has partnered with collaborators at the University of Montana to use remotely sensed (i.e., satellite) vegetation data, largely the accumulated fuel load of grasses, to predict the occurrence of large (greater than 1000 acre) wildfires within the Great Basin region.  That effort has produced a model that explains over 70% of the variation in regional acres burned, by year, going back to the late 1980’s.  And the good news is that the model is available by April, well in advance of fire season.  Our hope is that this fire model will help managers to identify big fire years in advance and help them to pre-emptively acquire the resources they need to deal with the situation.  Closer to the ground, research led by Kirk Davies and Jon Bates has shown the importance of fine fuel amount and continuity in influencing fire ignition, spread, and severity.  This work provides a science-based justification for moving forward on grazing-based management of fine fuels.  Grazing can also play a role in reducing fine fuels within fuel breaks, which provide a location not just to slow the spread of fire, but for Interagency teams and Rural Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) to safely deploy people and equipment to suppress fire.  Some of our collective (ARS and OSU) research from this past summer indicates that virtual fencing is a viable tool for controlling cattle distribution when using cattle grazing to create and maintain fuel breaks.  This is important because grazing long and narrow strips in large rangeland landscapes would be logistically and financially difficult using traditional fencing or herding techniques. 

Lastly, ARS, OSU, TNC and a whole host of other public and private partners have been actively involved in the Harney County Wildfire Collaborative, whose mission is to reduce the amount and severity of large wildfires in Harney County.  This group has been busy on a number of projects ranging from making sure that Interagency teams and RFPAs have common radio frequencies for communication during fire suppression, to thinking about how to organize suppression and fuels management activities in large, mixed-ownership rangeland landscapes.  For organizing within large landscapes, we are using what are called PODs (Potential Operational Delineations) and PCLs (Potential Control Lines).  To use a grazing analogy, if we are going to put in place a grazing management plan in a large rangeland landscape, one of the first questions is going to be “where are the fences at?”  Once we know where the fences are we can organize our management within the pastures defined by those fences.  So with PODs and PCLs, the PCLs are “fire fences” where suppression crews can potentially stop a fire and are largely defined by the existing network of roads.  The areas within the landscape and surrounded by PCLs can be thought of as PODs or “fire pastures” which we can use to organize our fuels management activities.  We are currently using this approach to help organize fuels management and potential suppression activities within a 300,000 acre area in the Stinkingwater Mountains east of Burns.

As always we are grateful for the amazing customer support of EOARC and we look forward to serving you in the future. 

Chad Boyd
Research Leader, Burns ARS

A Note from Andrew:

Greetings! The Nature Conservancy (TNC) continues to invest in strategies that seek to improve the resiliency of Oregon’s rangelands in partnership with OSU and ARS staff at EOARC. This year’s drought has only reinforced TNC’s emphasis on these important landscapes and spurs us on to develop and support rangeland management and restoration approaches that bolster the resilience of Eastern Oregon landscapes so that both people and nature can thrive.

Five states, four years, and lots of great people! Our work researching and testing innovative seed technologies that improve restoration success of landscapes impacted by wildfire and invasive annual grasses continues to advance in partnership with EOARC. We just completed the fourth year of field trials of herbicide protection seed technologies, testing a dozen unique seeding treatments across five states. Herbicide protection technologies give seeded species a leg up on aggressive invasive annual grasses by protecting them from herbicides used to inhibit invasive annual grass establishment, allowing seeding to occur in the same season as herbicide application and maximizing the window when competition with annuals is reduced. Roxanne Rios with ARS has been a critical partner in this endeavor, leading several in-depth lab trials investigating herbicide protection seed technology prototype efficacy over the last year. One of our seasonal employees and a Burns local who is working on these restoration projects, Anna Hosford, has agreed to continue working for TNC through the winter and into next season. This is great news for TNC and our work on rangeland restoration!

So many threats, so little time and money, where to start? With widespread threats to Oregon rangelands and limited resources to address them, strategic and targeted investment in rangeland management and restoration is needed more than ever. Recently, I have been working with Jessica Griffen, TNC Restoration Project Manager, to develop a management and restoration prioritization framework for ranch-scale properties in Oregon’s sagebrush steppe using TNC’s Juniper Hills Preserve near Post, Oregon as a case study. This project applies recently developed remote sensing tools (i.e., maps) to identify and prioritize where to focus resources on invasive annual grass treatments, juniper removal, and fuels management to maintain or enhance the resiliency of the property to the effects of warming temperatures, prolonged droughts, and invasive species. Tools used include the SageCon Invasives Initiative Geographic Strategy, Threat Based Land Management, and Rangeland Analysis Platform. The goal of this project is to produce a practical framework for prioritizing restoration and management that can be exported to similar landscapes. To ensure that the framework is pragmatic and useful, the managers of Juniper Hills Preserve will apply their local knowledge and expertise and assist in the development and refinement of the prioritization framework.

As we enter the cooler months of the high desert, I am looking forward to some precipitation and am crossing my fingers for a snowy winter and much needed snowpack going into the spring. Thank you for your interest in and support of EOARC. Please reach out if there is anything I can do for you.

Andrew Olsen
Rangeland Scientist, The Nature Conservancy

Juliana Ranches - OSU Beef Specialist

Juliana Ranches holding a newborn
calf after liver sample collection, which
is used for mineral status evaluation.

Juliana Ranches joined EOARC – Burns in 2020. She is an Assistant Professor & Extension Beef Specialist.  Juliana is from Brazil, where she received her B.S. in Animal Science from UNESP - Botucatu. While in college, she spent 6 months working at the EOARC under the guidance of Dr. Reinaldo Cooke. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, she moved to Ona (FL) in 2014 to work at Dr. John Arthington’s program at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center (RCREC; University of Florida).  Juliana completed her Master’s program in 2017 and her Ph.D. program in 2019. Both programs focused on mineral supplementation for beef cattle, more specifically for cow-calf operations, with emphasis on trace mineral requirements, cattle performance, health, and metabolism.

      Juliana teaching Derringer Boyd
      (2021 summer intern) how to
      perform a liver biopsy collection.

At the EOARC, Dr. Ranches research program focuses on but is not limited to: (1) identifying cost-effective nutritional strategies for cow-calf operations; (2) evaluating mineral strategies for cow-calf operations; (3) identifying cost-effective, pre-weaning nutritional and management strategies to improve post-weaning calf health and performance. She is currently evaluating different levels of trace mineral supplementation for beef calves before weaning and how it can affect calf performance post-weaning. Similarly, she is evaluating the use of injectable trace minerals at different time points in the productive cycle and how the use of such technology affects cow-calf performance and health.  Juliana has been also working on a study that aims to evaluate the impacts of smoke exposure of wildfires on the health, performance, and production of beef and dairy cows. Juliana is actively working in international collaborations in Brazil, where they are evaluating the use of a bovine appeasing substance, which has been shown to have calming effects for beef cattle and to be ideal for use at stressful practices such as transport, weaning, and feedlot entry.

For her extension program, she has organized and delivered a few Calving Schools, which is a daylong event focused on important topics related to calving, such as calving assistance and nutrition of the pregnant cow. She has organized and delivered several webinars in the past year. The recording of the latest webinar series can be found here. She maintains an Instagram account (@thecattlecorner) where she shares brief and up to date information related to beef cattle production.  Finally, she has recently launched a state-wide evaluation of the mineral status of cow-calf operations. With this Extension effort Dr. Ranches aims to characterize the current mineral status of cow-calf herds across Oregon as well as the current mineral supplementation practices being used by producers. If you would like to be part of this project, please click here to register.

Juliana truly enjoys visiting with stakeholders, so if you have any questions or suggestions please reach out at juliana.ranches@oregonstate.edu or at (541) 573-4083.


Kirk Davies - ARS

Kirk Davies joined Burns-ARS unit in 2006 as a Rangeland Scientist.  However, he first became part of the EOARC family in 1999 when he was hired as a summer technician by Jon Bates.  Kirk really appreciated the family atmosphere at the EOARC, which resulted in him getting a PhD through the unit and accepting a Rangeland Scientist position after graduating.  Kirk’s research program has focused on the ecology and management of sagebrush steppe communities.  This has included research on controlling and preventing exotic annual grass invasion, restoration, seed enhancement technologies, plant community dynamics, grazing and fire management, and interactive effects of disturbances.

Recent projects: Kirk has been investigating using livestock grazing to decrease exotic annual grasses.  He found that grazing can be used to decrease fire severity by reducing fine fuel accumulations.  Subsequently, post-fire invasion of exotic annual grasses is substantially less in areas grazed prior to fire compared to ungrazed areas.  As part of this program, Kirk has also evaluated using dormant season grazing to reduce exotic annual grasses and promote native bunchgrasses.  Moderate grazing during the dormant season reduced exotic annual grasses and increased Sandberg bluegrass (a native bunchgrass). 

Kirk’s research on using activated carbon in seed enhancement technologies (seed coatings and pellets) to deactivate pre-emergent herbicides applied to control exotic annual grasses was the first of its kind.  Activated carbon applied around the seed protects seeded species from herbicide damage, allowing them to establish at the same time that exotic annual grasses are control with pre-emergent herbicides.  Without the activated carbon seed technology, desired seeded species suffered high mortality from the pre-emergent herbicides.  Based off of his work, researchers in South America, Australia, and throughout North America are implementing similar lines of research. 

Kirk often consults private and public land managers on restoration and management issues.  His goal is to get research into the hands of people who can apply it on the ground.   Kirk is always glad to discuss management and research needs, so feel free to contact him at: kirk.davies@usda.gov




Recent Publications 

Shrubs Facilitate Perennial Bunchgrass Recruitment in Drylands Under Experimental Precipitation Change 
Swanson, Elizabeth K., R.L. Sheley, J.J. James

Is a Prescribed Fire Sufficient to Slow the Spread of Woody Plants in an Infrequently Burned Grassland? A Case Study in Tallgrass Prairie
Nippert, Jesse B., L. Telleria, P. Blackmore, J.H. Taylor, R.C. O’Connor

Using a Grass of the Anthropocene as a Functional Guide to Restore Sagebrush-Steppe
Hamerlynck, Erik P., C.S. Boyd

Influence of Amount and Frequency of Protein Supplementation to Ruminants Consuming Low-Quality Cool-Season Forages: Efficiency of Nitrogen Utilization in Lambs and Performance of Gestating Beef Cows
Cappellozza, Bruno I., D.W. Bohnert, M.M. Reis, M.L. Van Emon, C.S. Schauer, S.J. Falck,
R.F. Cooke

Influence of Amount and Frequency of Protein Supplementation to Steers Consuming Low-Quality, Cool-Season Forage: Intake, Nutrient Digestibility, and Ruminal Fermentation
Cappellozza, Bruno I., D.W. Bohnert, M.M. Reis, K.C. Swanson, S.J. Falck, R.F. Cooke

Ungulate Grazing Relationships with Riparian Restoration: Meadow Creek Experiment
Wisdom, Michael, M. Rowland, J. Averett, D.W. Bohnert, S. DeBano, B. Endress
U.S. Forest Service, National Stream and Aquatic Ecology Center, Summer 2021

Seeding Locally Sourced Native Compared to Introduced Bunchgrasses Post-Wildfire in Frigid Wyoming Big Sagebrush Communities
Davies, Kirk W., C.S. Boyd

Prenatal Immune Stimulation Alters the Postnatal Acute Phase and Metabolic Responses to an Endotoxin Challenge in Weaned Beef Heifers
Carroll, Jeffery A., N.C.Burdick Sanchez, P.R. Broadway, G.M. Silva, J. Ranches, J. Warren,
J.D. Arthington, P.A. Lancaster, P. Moriel


Effects of Varying Sources of Cu, Zn, and Mn on Mineral Status and Preferential Intake of Salt-Based Supplements by Beef Cows and Calves and Rainfall-Induced Metal Loss
Arthington, John D., M.L. Silveira, L.S. Caramalac, H.J. Fernandes, J.S. Heldt, J. Ranches

Low Moisture, Cooked Molasses Blocks: A Limited Intake Method for Supplementing Trace Minerals to Pre-Weaned Calves
Ranches, Juliana, R.A. De Oliveira, M. Vedovatto, E.A. Palmer, P. Moriel, L.D. Silva,
G. Zylberlicht, J.S. Drouillard, J.D. Arthington

Effect of Rumen-Protected Methionine Supplementation to Beef Cows During the Periconception Period on Performance of Cows, Calves, and Subsequent Offspring
Silva, G.M., C.D. Chalk, J. Ranches, T.M. Schulmeister, D.D. Henry, N. DiLorenzo,
J.D. Arthington, P. Moriel, P.A. Lancaster

Use of Radio‑Frequency Identification Technology to Assess the Frequency of Cattle Visits to Mineral Feeders
Ranches, Juliana, R.A. De Oliveira, M. Vedovatto, E.A. Palmer, P. Moriel, J.D. Arthington

Differences in Copper and Selenium Metabolism Between Angus (Bos taurus) and Brahman (Bos indicus) Cattle
Ranches, Juliana, R. Alves, M. Vedovatto, E.A. Palmer, P. Moriel, J.D. Arthington

Spatio-Temporal Differences in Leaf Physiology are Associated with Fire, not Drought, in a Clonally Integrated Shrub
Wedel, Emily R., K. O’Keefe, J.B. Nippert, B. Hoch, R.C. O’Connor

Comparison of Injectable Trace Minerals vs. Adjuvant on Measures of Innate and Humoral Immune Responses of Beef Heifers
Caramalac, L.S., P. Moriel, J. Ranches, G.M. Silva, J.D. Arthington

Living with Exotic Annual Grasses in the Sagebrush Ecosystem 
Davies, Kirk W., E.A. Leger, C.S. Boyd, L.M. Hallett



OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension’s Wildfire Wednesdays have wrapped up for the summer but will begin again in the fall—stay tuned! You can watch the recordings of the webinar series here, and more info, checklists, and other resources related to fire preparedness in your home and community can be found here.   

Social Media: 


  sagehabitatteam  & thecattlecorner