EOARC Newsletter - Winter 2022

A Note from Dave:

It has been nice to see the winter precipitation – let’s hope it keeps coming!

This fall and early winter have been a busy time for the faculty and staff at Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC). Highlights include completing the 2021 Oregon Beef Council Research Report and presenting it to the Oregon Beef Council in Corvallis on Nov 5. The report contained information from 7 Animal Sciences and 5 Rangeland Ecology and Management projects funded by the Oregon Beef Checkoff.  The full report can be found at the following link: Beef Cattle Research Reports.  We truly appreciate all the support of Oregon’s Beef producers and the Oregon Beef Council in supporting OSU research!  

EOARC faculty attended, participated in, and presented at the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) meeting in Pendleton, OR in late November.  In addition, Staci Simonich (Executive Associate Dean in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences) and Carol Lorenzen (OSU Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department Head) presented and discussed the OSU Cattle Plan during the General Session. This was a great meeting with a full agenda of industry relevant and important programming.  More importantly, OSU, OCA, and state legislators met during a breakout session to talk about the future of EOARC Union, funding opportunities, and potential collaborations.  We are currently working to identify and develop funding opportunities to enhance programming, facilities, and personnel at EOARC Union.

Juliana Ranches, OSU Beef Extension Specialist, put together a great program in early December called RancHER.  This program was from women for women but all were welcome. It included a group of nationally known speakers that presented timely information related to the beef industry.  The program was well received and attended, with current plans to continue the program moving forward. For more information and updates on Juliana’s extension programs check her out @thecattlecorner.

Another thing we are proud to note in this newsletter is a promotional video that was organized and put together by the College of Agricultural Sciences Communications Team.  This video was recently released and highlights the history, collaboration, and programming at EOARC.

In this edition we are acknowledging and highlighting 3 essential people at EOARC – Kim Reynolds, Petrina White, and Dawnetta Hauth.  These three ladies make sure the stations run smoothly and competently wrangle the multitude of policies, regulations, and compliance issues that are an increasingly important part of their jobs.  We are thankful for their dedication, expertise, work ethic, and friendship! The EOARC would not be the wonderful place it is today without these amazing individuals.

Lastly, I am excited to say that OSU is in the final phase of the search for an Assistant Director at EOARC Union.  I hope to be able to introduce you to the new Assistant Director in our Spring Newsletter.

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

A Note from Chad:

Greetings from Burns!  I hope that you and your families had a great holiday season. 

Like much of the state we have been experiencing above average moisture and hopefully that trend continues. For those interested, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently updated the snow water equivalent map for the state and if you want to see how this year is shaping up for your location, click on the following link: Oregon SNOTEL  

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) spotlight for this edition of the newsletter focuses on Jon Bates and Dawnetta Hauth. Jon has been a scientist here in Burns since the turn of the century and did graduate research at EOARC prior to that. His science-based approach to ongoing management challenges has resulted in a long and growing list of publications that are used by a wide variety of managers to define and implement best rangeland management practices. To see publications for Jon or any of our EOARC scientists, please utilize our searchable database linked here: EOARC Publications.  As our Administrative Officer, Dawnetta Hauth heads the Burns ARS administrative team and has primary responsibility over a variety of areas including budget management and HR issues.  Every scientific accomplishment of Burns ARS is made possible by a wide range of administrative accomplishments and we are grateful for Dawnetta’s dedication and leadership. 

Looking ahead to the new year, rumors of a new petition(s) to list greater sage-grouse under provisions of the Endangered Species Act are again swirling.  I don’t pretend to know how or exactly when that situation might develop, but what I do know is that we at EOARC stand ready to respond with best available science as needed.  EOARC research has played a strong formative role in shaping how we conceive the sage-grouse problem itself; namely, that the issues faced by sage-grouse (annual grasses, fire, conifer expansion) are less about sage-grouse and more about ecosystem problems that are impacting not just the grouse, but also rangeland agriculture and the communities that depend on it.  Additionally, EOARC has played, and will continue to play, an important leadership role in providing the science behind management practices as well as techniques and products aimed at helping to abate these ecosystem issues.   

Speaking of sage-grouse, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now accepting comments for potential revisions to the range wide land use plan amendments to the 2015 and 2019 greater sage-grouse conservation plans.  Use this link to learn more about the process and how you can view relevant documents and provide comments: 2021 Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendments.  If you are interested in attending a virtual public meeting on this topic, click here: Virtual Scoping Sessions.  Public comments are due by February 8, 2022.

Lastly, we look forward to normalizing in-person meetings with customers and colleagues. COVID and its variants have obviously put a sizable dent in our ability to organize and attend both customer meetings as well as professional gatherings such as the annual meeting of the Society for Range Management (SRM).  Hopefully that situation will change in the new year, but in the interim, please feel free to reach out to us via phone or e-mail with questions or comments at any time. 

Wishing you and your families a happy and productive new year.

Chad Boyd
Research Leader, Burns ARS

A Note from Andrew:

Greetings! The Nature Conservancy (TNC) continues to partner with OSU and ARS staff at EOARC in addressing important issues in eastern Oregon’s rangelands including invasive annual grasses, native plant restoration, large-scale wildfires, public land management, sustainable grazing, and many more! Here are updates on a couple of the projects we are working on:

That’s a wrap! TNC recently wrapped up a large project led by Jessie Griffen at Juniper Hills Preserve near Post, Oregon investigating innovative approaches to native plant restoration. Funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society Climate Adaptation Fund, this project applied herbicide protection seed technologies in a realistic, restoration context. Herbicide protection has shown promise in lab and field trials as a potential tool to overcome competition with invasive annual grasses such as cheatgrass and medusahead. Demonstrations of these technologies at larger scales are needed to advance them from research to adoption by influential entities performing restoration over large acreages such as the BLM. In addition to demonstrating herbicide protection seed technologies at larger scales, this project produced communication tools including a video and fact sheet that describe the challenges invasive annual grasses present and how seed technologies can help overcome them. We had lots of support from colleagues at EOARC during this project including Roxanne Rios, Hayley Edlund, Tony Svejcar, Tony Runnels, Skip Nyman, and Chad Boyd.

Big data, photo points, and cattle, oh my! I am working with Matt Cahill, the TNC Sagebrush Sea Program Director, to develop a monitoring framework applicable to a large, public lands ranching operations. Many large, western ranches are challenged by making livestock management decisions based on monitoring data that is limited in its spatial and temporal scale. With recent advances in geospatial tools such as the Rangeland Analysis Platform, there is tremendous opportunity to explore how these tools might inform livestock management decisions and complement on-the-ground monitoring approaches such as photo points and in-field forage measurements.  It is our hope that big data approaches to livestock management and monitoring will be appropriately matched to the scale of the decision-making needs of these ranches and will support their economic, social, and ecological sustainability.

The recent snow in eastern Oregon brings hope of reprieve from the West’s historic drought. I am entering 2022 with optimism and energy! 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

Dr. David W. Bohnert Receives the Extension Award from the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science

David W. Bohnert is the recipient of the Western Section American Society of Animal Science Extension Award, presented to him during the 2021 Western Section Meeting held in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Dr. David Bohnert is a leader in developing Oregon’s beef extension programs and disseminating management tools and programs, providing hands-on learning experiences for youth, and providing county faculty and producer trainings, field days, and tours. He is the Director of the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC). Dr. Bohnert began his career at Oregon State University (OSU) as an Assistant Professor and Extension Beef Specialist in 1998. He progressed to Professor while assuming administrative responsibilities at EOARC.  His research is centered in three areas: (1) supplementation strategies, (2) management strategies, and (3) alternative feedstuff considerations. These research areas have direct application to Oregon and the intermountain west. He has strived to provide beef cattle producers with the knowledge and expertise to develop management practices that improve their overall profitability while benefiting animal welfare, rangeland health, and ecological function. In addition, he is actively involved in multi-state extension activities and committees. He has received the Young Scientist Award from the Western Section of American Society of Animal Science and OSU/College of Agricultural Sciences Briskey Award for Faculty Excellence. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, presented over 160 invited presentations at state, national, and international meetings, and obtained over $2.6 million in support of his programs.

The WSASAS Extension Award recognizes an individual in the western region institutions for outstanding achievements in animal science extension programs. This person has made contributions in animal science extension in areas related to livestock production, product utilization, adult education, 4-H clubs, and other cooperative livestock associations.

Dr. Kirk Davies Honored

On November 30, 2021, Dr. Kirk Davies with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) was honored with the Distinguished Leadership in Research Award from the Association for Fire Ecology (AFE).  AFE is an international scientific organization dedicated to understanding and managing wildfire and prescribed fire impacts.  Kirk’s pioneering fire ecology research has helped provide the science foundation needed for addressing some of the most daunting management challenges on western rangelands.

Dr. Davies is currently the Lead Rangeland Scientist for ARS at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns, OR.  He graduated from Crane Union High School in 1996 and obtained dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Crop and Soil Science and Rangeland Resources in 2000.  He then obtained a PhD in Rangeland Ecology and Management from Oregon State University in 2005.  He was hired by the Agricultural Research Service in 2006.  Kirk has published 130 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles on fire ecology, grazing-fire interactions, post-fire rangeland management, and non-native species impacts and management.  He has also published numerous management guides, extension articles, and proceeding papers. 

Kirk is regularly requested to evaluate and advise on post-fire restoration plans for the Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies, and private landowners because of his expertise on the subject.  His research on grazing-fire interactions has resulted in many requests to assist in developing rangeland fuel management strategies.  Kirk’s work is recognized globally with researchers in South America, North America, Asia, and Australia implementing projects based on his pioneering research on novel post-fire restoration strategies. 

Kirk’s research on pre-fire fuels management clearly showed the importance of cattle grazing for reducing the likelihood of fire, and reducing the severity of fire when it did occur.  Recently, he and other ARS colleagues worked with the University of Montana to create a model that predicts the probability of large wildfires in the Great Basin region. This model explained 70% of the variation in yearly acres burned in the Great Basin from 1988 to present and the National Interagency Fire Center requested a meeting with the research team to discuss implications of the model to pre-emptive fire management actions in the Great Basin region. This is the first fuels-driven model to be accurate enough for broad management utility in predicting wildfire occurrence in rangeland vegetation.

Congratulations to Dr. Kirk Davies for this well-deserved honor.

Guojie Wang - Forage Agronomist OSU 

Guojie Wang joined Eastern Oregon Agriculture and Natural Resource Program (EOANRP) at Eastern Oregon University and Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC) – Union in 2015. He is an Assistant Professor in forage agronomy and up for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Science, Oregon State University. His current position includes teaching/advising (70%) and research (25%). Since coming to EOANRP, he has developed or renewed syllabi in six crop and soil science courses and taught them effectively. He has been appreciated by his students with high evaluation scores and recognized in the Registry of Distinguished Teachers in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Guojie Wang is from China, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology from Inner Mongolia University in 2002, a Master’s degree in Grassland Ecology with an emphasis on range science from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2005. Through an exchange scholar program, Guojie came to the United States of America in 2004 and received a Ph.D. in Natural Resources Management with an emphasis on soil science from North Dakota State University in 2010. Guojie worked as a forage agronomist studying forage and bioenergy cropping systems at North Dakota State University from 2010 to 2015.

Guojie Wang initiated a forage research program at EOARC – Union in 2015, aiming to develop a sustainable forage production system in eastern Oregon under limited irrigation water resources. Iconic populations of salmon and steelhead are currently limited to a fraction of their historic habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Within the Grande Ronde River watershed, including Catherine Creek, endangered aquatic focal species of spring Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, have been severely impacted by riparian and instream habitat degradation. Habitat degradation, including poor water quality and higher water temperatures, especially in summer months, is caused mainly by low instream water flow. These low flows can be credited, in part, to irrigated agriculture. However, irrigated agriculture and livestock production are the most important agricultural enterprises in eastern Oregon; they are vital to the rural economies. The climate in this region is characterized by a maritime pattern with cool wet winters and warm dry summers. Irrigation during late spring and summer is vital to ensure adequate forages for breeding stock and non-weaned offspring, under current management options for grazing in eastern Oregon. A sustainable forage production system with improved water conservation is required if salmon and steelhead populations are to recover even part of their historic numbers. The study of new forage production systems, the development and demonstration of these specific systems, and their large-scale adoption will be the ultimate sustainable approach to balance agricultural production and fish and wildlife habitat conservation.

Based on the situation and a research needs assessment that he conducted in late 2015 and early 2016, he conducted several small plot forage species screening and selection trials (2015–2021) with the goal of identifying forage species matched with irrigation water availability and conservation. Research has focused on irrigation timing effects on a wide range of forage species. Treatments include: 1) no irrigation to match a dryland situation or an aggressive water conservation management objective; 2) irrigation from May 1 to June 15 to match very limited junior water rights or summer months water conservation management objective; 3) irrigation from May 1 to August 1 to match junior water rights or late summer water conservation management objective; and 4) irrigation from May 1 to September 15 to match senior water rights. Under each irrigation timing treatment, the following field trials are being conducted: 1) spring-seeded 20 annual forage species; 2) summer-seeded 20 annual forage species following winter triticale stubble; 3) summer-seeded 20 annual forage species following spring triticale stubble; 4) fall-seeded 10 winter annual cereal and biennial legume species monocultures; 5) fall-seeded 4 winter annual cereal and biennial legume species mixtures; and 6) spring-seeded 20 perennial forage species.

For the future, Guojie Wang wants to conduct medium-scale forage species mixtures and cropping system studies (2022–2025) to fine-tune forage production management practices for the superior forage species identified from 2015-2021 trials. This will include identifying appropriate species mixtures, fertilization requirements, pest management, and crop rotations. The next research phase is grazing efficiency research (2026–2030) to renovate existing grazing systems, extend the grazing season, foster nutrient cycling and improve soil health, and integrate cash crop and livestock production.

Even though without official Extension appointment, Guojie truly enjoys visiting with and help stakeholders, so if you have any questions or suggestions please reach out at Guojie.Wang@oregonstate.edu or at (541) 962-3641.


Jon Bates - ARS

Jon Bates joined the Burns-ARS unit in 1999 as a Rangeland Scientist.  He started working with EOARC in 1987 evaluating the economies of several winter feeding programs as part of acquiring an M.S. degree through the Department of Agricultural Economics at OSU.  Between 1989 and 1997 he interspersed working on his in-laws grass seed/wheat farm and completing his Ph.D. in Rangeland Resources at OSU, again through EOARC.  

His ARS program emphasizes applied research over longer-term time periods (10+ yrs.) that generates results useful to the management of sagebrush steppe, which has included grazing studies, fire management and ecology, western juniper control, and habitat assessments and ecology.  Recent collaborative grazing projects have determined that sagebrush steppe communities are resilient to light and moderate stocking, not differing from ungrazed controls over short-term (5-20 yrs. after fire) and long-term time periods (70+ yrs. following over-stocking), and that targeted grazing can reduce fine fuel loading, decreasing wildfire probability and moderating fire behavior, thus increasing sagebrush steppe resilience to fire.  Recent collaborative fire management projects determined: 1) that prescribed fall burning of good condition sagebrush steppe doubled forage and grass seed production, was not detrimental to herbaceous diversity, did not lead to an increase of invasive annual grasses and 2) that post-fire recovery after burning early and mid-successional juniper woodlands was composed of desirable native plants while recovery after fire in late successional woodlands was dominated by invasive annual grasses.

Jon serves as an associate editor for Rangeland Ecology & Management, the primary international scientific journal in the rangeland science field. He’s always ready to discuss management and research needs, and can be contacted at: 541-573-8932 or jon.bates@usda.gov.

Kim Reynolds - EOARC Union

Kim Reynolds is the Facilities & Budget Manager at the Eastern Oregon Ag Research Center in Union. Kim is a graduate of Oregon State University and has worked at the Union station for just shy of 17 years. She handles the finance and human resource duties in Union, manages station inventory and is the Safety Officer and lawn mower. In addition to her station duties, Kim is also the coordinator for the Oregon Ag Education Foundation program – Summer Agriculture Institute East. In 2015, Kim was selected as the recipient of OSU’s Exemplary Employee Award for Outstanding Service.

Kim raised her two children on the EOARC Union Station. Her son Trevor is 24 and graduated from OSU in June 2021. He is now an electrical engineer in Vancouver, WA. Her daughter Lizzy, 21, will finish her associate degree in Aviation Science in March of this year. She has earned her commercial pilot license and will complete her certified flight instructor training in February. 

Kim and her husband Jon love to travel and will be lying on a beach in Mexico next month! 

Petrina White - EOARC Burns

Petrina is our office manager at EOARC-Burns.  She has been with EOARC since 2011.  She is knowledgeable about most facets of the station activities.  She provides support for human resources, general admin and management, regulatory compliance, risk management aspects and other services integral to the station.  She also acts as our local resource person for information technology (IT).  Petrina is a point of contact for our field technicians.  We can house up to approx. 25 here at Burns and another 5-6 people out at the Butte.  Petrina assigns housing, oversees safety and compliance of housing units, and tries to make their experience here the best.

In her time away from the office, she and her husband, Dean, raise beef cattle and ranch horses.  They have two boys, Brady, who is a sophomore at EOU studying human health and performance and Adam, a senior at Burns High School.  Petrina is the advisor for the local high school rodeo team and a member of the budget board for the Harney District Hospital.

Dawnetta Hauth - EOARC ARS 

Hello, my name is Dawnetta Hauth. I am the Administrative Officer (AO) for the USDA-ARS in the Pacific West Area (PWA).  I started my career at EOARC in January 2008 where I worked for OSU as the Office Assistant.  In April 2011, I moved to the USDA-ARS as the Program Support Assistant and accepted the AO position in September 2018.

There are a wide variety of roles being an AO, but the most rewarding, and probably the most important is ensuring our budget is balanced monthly and the spend-out rate is at 99.95% at year-end.  Another role of being an AO is Human Resources (HR), which can be a full-time job in itself as we hire 20-25 temporary employees each year to assist in research.  In addition, AO’s keep abreast the Policies and Procedures, forms, templates, rules/laws, etc. to inform employees of any changes or additions.  Last, but definitely not least, we also must maintain a healthy and interactive relationship with the Area Office and Headquarters.  There are many conference calls, monthly/quarterly/yearly reports to complete, and various trainings and conferences to attend. 

Working for ARS over the past 10 years, I’ve received Outstanding Performance Awards each year.  In addition, I received an award for Outstanding Oversight of Agreements and Recruitment Processes and ARS-PWA Outreach, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity Award.  I was invited by the Associate Area Director to present at the PWA New Scientist Workshop in Albany, CA.  During my career, I served on the PWA Council for Office Professional and on the National Advisory Council for Office Professionals.  In 2017 I was awarded the PWA Office Professional of the Year Award and was nominated by PWA for the agency-wide ARS Office Professional of the Year Award. 

Working for EOARC has been the most gratifying and heartwarming experience in my professional career.

Recent Publications 

Oregon Beef Council  Report 2021 Edition

OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Newsletter 

Understory Physical Structures Reduce Browsing Damage to Palatable Shrubs in a Dry Conifer Forest, Western North America
Defrees, Dallas H., J.P. Averett, B.A. Endress

Historical Fire and Ventenata dubia Invasion in a Temperate Grassland
Ridder, Luke W., J.M. Perren, L.R. Morris, B.A. Endress, R.V. Taylor, B.J. Naylor

Vegetation Change Over Seven Years in the Largest Protected Pacific Northwest Bunchgrass Prairie Remnant
Averett, Joshua P., L.R. Morris, B.J. Naylor, R.V. Taylor, B.A. Endress

Non‐Native Species Threaten the Biotic Integrity of the Largest Remnant Pacific Northwest Bunchgrass Prairie in the United States
Endress, Brian A., J.P. Averett, B.J. Naylor, L.R. Morris, R.V. Taylor

Genome-Wide Association Studies Identifying Multiple Loci Associated with Alfalfa Forage Quality
Lin, Sen, C.A. Medina, O.S. Norberg, D. Combs, G.J. Wang, G. Shewmaker, S. Fransen,   D. Llewellyn, L.X. Yu.

Effects of Springtime Sodium Selenate Foliar Application and NPKS Fertilization on Selenium Concentrations and Selenium Species in Forages Across Oregon
Wang, Guojie, G. Bobe, S.J. Filley, G.J. Pirelli, M.G. Bohle, T.Z. Davis, G.L. Banuelos, J.A. Hall  

Biochar: An Organic Amendment to Crops and an Environmental Solution
Torabian, Shahram, R.J. Qin, C. Noulas, Y.Y. Lu, G.J. Wang

Water use Strategy of Ammopiptanthus Mongolicus Community in a Drought Year on the Mongolian Plateau
Zhu, Yajuan, G.J. Wang, Z.M. Xin

Rainwater use Process of Caragana Intermedia in Semi-Arid Zone, Tibetan Plateau
Zhu, Yajuan, G.J. Wang

Application of Plant Growth Regulators on Soft White Winter Wheat Under Different Nitrogen Fertilizer Scenarios in Irrigated Fields
Qin, Ruijun, C. Noulas, D. Wysocki, X. Liang, G.J. Wang, S. Lukas

Seedling Defoliation May Enhance Survival of Dominant Wheatgrasses but not Poa secunda Seeded for Restoration in the Sagebrush Steppe of the Northern Great Basin
Denton, Elsie M., L. A. Pyle, R.L. Sheley

Dormant-Season Moderate Grazing Prefire Maintains Diversity and Reduces Exotic Annual Grass Response Postfire in Imperiled Artemisia Steppe
Davies, Kirk W., J.D. Bates, C.S. Boyd, R.C. O’Connor, S.M. Copeland

Trace Mineral Nutrition of Grazing Beef Cattle
Arthington, John D., J. Ranches

Comment on: Grazing Disturbance Promotes Exotic Annual Grasses by Degrading Soil Biocrust Communities
O’Connor, Rory C., M.J. Germino

Threat‐Based State and Transition Models Predict Sage‐Grouse Occurrence while Promoting Landscape Conservation
Doherty, Kevin E., C.S. Boyd, J.D. Kerby, A.L. Sitz, L.J. Foster, M.C. Cahill, D.D. Johnson, B.D. Sparklin

Stomatal Conductance Relates to Sagebrush Transplant Survival Across Planting Season and Size-Class 
Copeland, Stella M., E.P. Hamerlynck, C.M. Holfus, E.E. Campbell, C.S. Boyd

Impacts from Wildfires on Livestock Health and Production: Producer Perspectives
O’Hara, Kathleen C., J. Ranches, L.M. Roche, T.K. Schohr, R.C. Busch, G.U. Maier



OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension’s Wildfire Wednesdays wrapped up in December. You can find recordings of the webinars, readiness checklists, and other resources related to fire preparedness here.

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