FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Quincy FFA members traveled out on the sagebrush sea to the cowtown of Elko to compete in the Western National Range Career Development Event. Teams from Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah were there to represent their respective states.
Members attended career workshops and a field day put on by range professionals from the Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, Society fro Range Management, Nevada State Extension, University of Idaho, University of Nevada-Reno, and Montana State University. They also heard from a large cattle ranch manager and a biologist that works for one of the large gold mining operations in Nevada.
During the competition, members had to complete a Stocking Rate problem determining pasture yield and available Animal Unit Months (AUMs), then given the planned use, determine forage demand and AUMs and determine if the stocking rate should be adjusted up or down. In addition, based on a map of the pasture determine the grazing system management decisions to improve forage utilization.
In the field portion of the competition they had to identify 15 range plants from 81 possible plants using their common name, whether it is a grass, forb, or woody plant, if it is an annual of perennial, if it is native or introduced species, whether it is desirable or undesirable for grazers and browsers, and if it is a toxic plant. Then in the field they had to do a site assessment of a pasture determining the slope, aspect, utilization level of forages, the topsoil texture, the precipitation zone, soil depth, and estimating the biomass per acre of forages and shrubs using 3, 4.8 sq. ft range rings. They had to determine the average age of shrubs and what transition stage the site based on a transect. They determine the percentage of shrub cover of a site by running a transect. And finally, they determined the average percentage of plant biomass in 3, 50 sq. cm plots of perennial grasses, annual grasses, forbs, and shrubs and then determining what percentage of similarity exists between the site and the ideal range sight for that region. The team ended up placing 13th in the competition.