Jack & Sue Baker
Cheatgrass Control Demonstration Project
Jack and Sue Baker run approximately 200 head of cow/calf pairs on their ranch north of Wheatland along the Laramie River. Irrigated pasture makes up 330 acres of their grazing lands and the remaining 215 acres is rangeland. Jack and Sue purchased the ranch in 1993 and immediately began working with the Wheatland NRCS Field Office to make improvements to the irrigated land and to implement a grazing system that would maximize production along with improving the plant composition. A short duration, high intensity grazing system was developed with assistance from NRCS and WYG&F to meet the Baker's goals. The eradication of cheatgrass by grazing intensively in the early spring/summer when the cheatgrass was greening up was one goal. The intense, early season grazing helped to control the spread of cheatgrass but it did not entirely eliminate the cheatgrass.
In late summer of 2003, NRCS, WYG&F and PCRD approached the Bakers about participating in a demonstration project using Plateau® to control cheatgrass on the pasture bordering the North Wheatland Highway and Johnson Road. The Bakers agreed whole-heartedly and felt that is was time to get really serious with the cheatgrass.
The demonstration project covers approximately 20 acres of rangeland infested with cheatgrass. Normally, Plateau® is applied with a surfactant called Methylated Seed Oil (MSO), but some success has been seen without the use of the surfactant. Because the cost of treatment can be prohibitive to landowners, the project partners decided to conduct a trial demonstration - half the acreage would be treated with Plateau® and the surfactant, while the other half would be treated without the surfactant to determine if successful results could be acheived while reducing the overall cost of treatment.
The pasture will be deferred from grazing for 1 year post-treatment to allow native vegetation to recover. After treatment, the project partners will monitor the impacts to native vegetation as well as the effectiveness of the two treatments. The increase/decrease in production will also be measured to determine how long it takes to recover the cost of treatment.
Project PartnersJack and Sue BakerPlatte County Resource District (PCRD)Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WYG&F)Platte County Weed and PestBASF