Quincy FFA members qualify for Western National Rangeland competition in Utah

The state-runners-up, Quincy FFA Rangeland CDE Team. (L to R) Taylor Tangen, Caden Cameron, Chloe Westra (fifth), Lilly Thompson, Kallie Kooistra, and Levi Kukes (second).

The Quincy FFA Rangeland CDE competed in the Washington State FFA Rangeland CDE on Wednesday October 12.

The event was held at the Wild Horse Wind Farm just a few miles east of Kittitas. The team earned a second-place finish and thus qualified for the Western National Rangeland CDE held in Richfield, Utah, on November 7-8

At the event members completed five practicum areas.

First, they completed a stocking rate problem where they were given data on a given pasture and then asked to determine the usable dry matter forage produced and then available based on the desired utilization rate.

Then, based on the number and size of livestock and any wildlife that would be utilizing the pasture, they were asked what the demand was for forage and then asked to decide whether to increase, decrease, or leave the stocking rate the same.

Furthermore, the students then had to answer 10 management questions based on the current use.

The next practicum dealt with determining how much forage had been grazed off of a given pasture by estimating down a transect and then determining the amount of shrub cover, using a intercept transect.

Members are required to learn 76 different range plants and be able to identify 20 in the practicum and then determine their growth habit, origin, life cycle, desirability for both grazers and browsers, and their toxicity, if any.

Samples can be either rooted or bundled. Students then perform a site assessment, determining slope, aspect, soil type, precipitation zone, and estimate the herbaceous (grass and forbs) and shrubs production for forage in pounds per acre, from a three-plot selection.

The last practicum is Similarity to Desired State where they estimate the percentage of Perennial Grass, Annual Grass, Forbs, and Shrubs by weight in a given plot and determine how close it is to the desired state for that pasture, and then determine what transition phase the plot is in.

These are all skills that range professionals utilize in their day-to-day-operations.

Levi Kukes placed second individually. Chloe Westra finished fifth overall.

The team was rounded out by Kallie Kooistra, Lilly Thompson, Taylor Tangen, with Caden Cameron serving as the alternate. Eleven teams from seven schools competed.

The team will continue preparation for the National event and add one more practicum to the mix, which is the study of a current rangeland issue and how to mitigate it on a given site.

This year’s issue topic is wild horses and burros and their impact on grazing lands in the American West.