Pat Shingleton: "Stocking Rate-Not Lingerie!"
A "stocking rate" reflects how many animals a designated area of acreage will support. As noted in a previous column, the unpredictability of precipitation causes difficulty for Great Plains ranchers to estimate this rate. Scientists developed a new computer model to assist by extrapolating National Weather Service seasonal weather predictions. A revised computer model tests various scenarios forbnforage yields and the weight gains of livestock under varied weather conditions. Ranchers will now be able to better estimate if precipitation will likely be above or below normal for a given season. This model will also determine the effects of increased carbon dioxide and higher temperature on pasture forage. Testing on this model will continue.