Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 25, 2000
Publication Date: January 20, 2001
Citation: Hanson, J.D. 2001. Developing instruments to support rangeland managment decisions. Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings. Technical Abstract: Maintenance of sustainable agriculture in the Great Plains has become a complex problem demanding consideration of many interrelated factors, processes, and institutions. Supplementing water and nitrogen without damaging the environment is a major challenge. In the immediate future, the ability to quickly modify farm and ranch management practices to take advantage of the global economy; new cropping, pest management, and tillag systems; and new legislation while protecting soil, air, and ground water resources will determine whether an agricultural enterprise system survives or perishes. GPFARM (Great Plains Framework for Agricultural Resource Management) integrates analytical tools with enterprise data to analyze 1- 10 year farm and ranch level production plans with respect to economics, government regulations, and environmental risks. The rangeland component of GPFARM consists of modules for simulating forage and beef cattle dynamics. The forage model simulates biomass production of five functional plant groups. Each forage group is responsive to changes in soil moisture, plant- available nitrogen, and temperature. Herd dynamics and animal growth are simulated by the livestock module. The herd consists of mature cows, pregnant cows, heifers, female calves, and male calves. Carrying capacity for the site is determined and the herd is culled so overgrazing does not occur. The user can preset a stocking rate to over the GPFARM safeguards thereby testing the effect of overstocking. Cattle growth is determined by calculating the daily requirement for each class of animal. An economics component is incorporated into GPFARM to allow the user to examine the economic feasibility of various management practices.