Range scientists at Kansas State University have developed a calculator to help ranchers and landowners determine the amount of forage lost to red cedar encroachment and the related reduction in pasture carrying capacity. Calculating losses using the online tool will allow landowners to consider the costs of red cedar control in conjunction with the potential for greater financial returns resulting from increased livestock production.
Eastern Red cedar encroachment is an increasing problem in rangeland in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas, according to K-State Range Management Specialist Carol Blocksome. The Kansas Forest Service estimates there was a 23,000% increase in the state’s red cedar population between 1965 and 2005.
“That means an undesirable conversion of rangeland to forest, which negatively impacts prairie wildlife habitat, and a decreased amount of available forage for livestock,” said Blocksome.
The calculator was based on data collected in the tallgrass prairie. It has not been evaluated for mid-grass or short-grass rangelands. Producers can work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to gather information that needs to be entered. Click here to use the forage loss calculator.
For more information visit www.kla.org.