Use of Livestock and Range Management Practices in Utah

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Journal of Range Management

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Despite large efforts to generate and extend management innovations for rangeland operators, little is known about the degree to which practices are used. We determined what influenced use of 26 management practices among 340 permittees using data from a mailed survey. Five, co-dominant socioeconomic groups of permittees were identified by cluster analysis: "Large-Scale Operators," 2 types of traditional "Ranchers," and 2 types of "Hobbyists." The main concern across groups was losing access to public land, and coping strategies overall included passivity (64%), intensification of private-land use (27%), and enterprise diversification (5%). Across all groups the 4 highest use rates uniformly occurred for livestock cross-breeding (92%), livestock supplementation (80%), planting improved forages on private land (76%), and interaction with extension personnel (73%). The 4 lowest rates (3 to 12%) occurred for use of futures markets, range-trend monitoring on private land, estrus synchronization, and short-duration grazing (SDG). Groups varied in use of feed and financial consultants, prescribed fire on private land, forward contracting, and controlled grazing systems other than SDG, with Large-Scale Operators tending to use these the most. Larger operation size and higher level of formal education and income for managers were positively associated with using more practices. Hobbyists tended to use practices the least. Practices which were less complex, clearly linked to animal production, potentially more cost-effective, and had greater compatibility with operational goals were favored. Socioeconomic groups and coping strategies have utility for better targeting research and extension. Understanding why some seemingly beneficial practices are rarely used requires improved communication with rangeland operators.

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