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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Range and Nutrition Research 



Fort Keogh's Range & Nutrition Research Section is made up of 5 scientists, 1 support scientist, and 6 technicians that represent a broad range of disciplines focused on the project "Proactive Management for Sustainable Rangeland Production." This project is part of the National Program - Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems - Rangeland, Pastures, and Forages #205. The planned research is designed to improve sustainability of rangeland production by addressing the interacting effects of disturbances on stability and integrity of rangelands and efficiency of livestock nutrient conversion. Objectives are to: 1) Develop strategies and decision tools to proactively manage livestock grazing, fire, and drought impacts on Great Plains community structure and function; 2) Improve animal productivity and product quality based on predicted nutrient intake, forage dynamics, and diet selection processes in the northern Great Plains; and 3) Develop management strategies to restore rangelands degraded by weeds and prevent weed invasions in the northern Great Plains. Experiments are integrated across objectives and will determine the interacting effects of grazing, fire, drought, and invasive plants on plant communities (production, species composition, diversity, heterogeneity, propagation, and survival) and the effects of changes in vegetation and animal physiology on livestock (weight gain, distribution, diet quality, diet selection, diet diversity, foraging efficiency, forage intake, and rumen microbial diversity). Two experiments are replicated across three locations (Miles City, MT, Nunn, CO and Woodward, OK) to determine ecological ramifications of fire seasonality, return interval, and grazing interactions in semiarid rangelands on a north-south gradient across the western Great Plains. Understanding the mechanisms that control disturbance effects on rangelands and animal responses to alterations in the plant community will promote development of proactive management strategies for improved stability in rangelands and rangeland livestock production systems.


    Lance Vermeire
      Range Ecologist

    Matt Rinella
      Weed Ecologist

    Kurt Reinhart
      Soil Ecologist

    Richard Waterman
      Range Animal

    Mark Petersen
      Range Animal

    Jennifer Muscha
      Support Scientist
      - Range  


Range History

Nutrition History



Effects of Prescribed Burning..
Effects of prescribed burning and litter type on litter decom-position and nutrient release in mixed-grass prairie in eastern Montana.


Restoration Understanding priority effects may help improve restoration outcomes and establishment of Artemisia tridentata spp. wyomingensis (Wyoming Big Sagebrush)

Summer Fire
Effects of summer fire on plant biomass and tissue class in the NGP one year after fire.

Seedbank Grazing when seedheads emerge reduces Japanese brome seedbank.

Water Quality
Water is the most important nutrient for range cattle.

Weed Seed
Fire may improve integrated weed managment by killing seeds...

Supplement Strategic supplementation is designed to improve cow nutritional status.


Small things
Plant-soil microbe interactions.

* Links to non-ars website

USDA, ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
243 Fort Keogh Rd., Miles City, MT  59301-4016
Phone: 406-874-8200, Fax:  406-874-8289

Last Modified: 10/11/2016
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