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Pacific Northwest Research Station
Blue Mountains National Resources Institute

Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande, OR 97850

United States Forest Service.

BMNRI Home > Publications > Abstract: Economic Feasibility of Offstream Water and Salt



The Economic Feasibility of Offstream Water and Salt to Reduce Grazing Pressure in Riparian Areas

by A. Stillings

Properly functioning riparian systems are vital to health of watersheds and provide an important forage and habitat resource for livestock and wildlife. Riparian grazing management strategies that are economically feasible and achieve environmental goals are needed by resource managers and livestock producers. The objective of this thesis was to examine the economic impacts of providing offstream water and salt in pastures to influence cattle distribution between riparian and upland areas. A field test of the project was conducted at OSU Hall Ranch (Union, OR), from mid July through August 1996 and 1997. A bioeconomic nonlinear programming model using collected data was constructed to test the economic feasibility of the project for a 300 cow-calf operation in northeastern Oregon over 60 years. Nine states of nature were created from historical data to account for the uncertainty of precipitation and cattle market prices. When an environmental management objective of restricting riparian vegetation use to 35% was strictly enforced, permitted animal unit months from summer pastures on public lands were reduced from traditional levels. This reduction resulted in a long-run equilibrium herd size 10% lower than current levels. However, when the cattle dispersion method was employed, cattle were distributed more evenly across pastures and consumed more upland forage before desired riparian levels were reached. Consumption of more upland forage allowed the long-run equilibrium herd size to remain at traditional numbers. This result combined with improved animal performance yielded positive net returns for the project. The offstream water and salt dispersion project has an annual expected net return of $4,517, $7,358, and $11,054 at low, medium and high cattle prices, respectively, for a 300-cow operation in northeast Oregon.

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Blue Mountains National Resources Institute
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:42 CST

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