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New Mexico State University

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NMSU's Corona Research Center plans day of ranch-related classes

CORONA - The "Half Day of College" at New Mexico State University's Corona Range and Livestock Research Center July 21 will help bring the university' expertise to New Mexico ranchers.



Corona Range and Livestock Research Center ranch manager Shad Cox, second from left, speaks to participants at the 2005 field day at the center. This year's event, the Corona center's "Half Day of College," starts at 9:30 a.m. July 21. (Courtesy Photo by Dana Wiebe, NMSU Animal and Range Sciences Department)


Three classes will be presented by experts in range analysis, personal computer applications and implementation of electronic identification in cattle herds.

"This program is a continuation of our commitment to increase communication between CRLRC scientists and the public," said Shad Cox, ranch manager. "We are following the same theme that we used last year for our field day: 'Choices.' We want to give participants the ability to pick and choose what they would like to attend and participate in. The classes presented at the 'Half Day of College' were chosen by ranchers so that they would be of interest to ranchers."

The free program starts at 9:30 a.m. with registration at the research center, located about 10 miles east of Corona. The three classes will be offered concurrently in outdoor classrooms, at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The range analysis class is intended to give participants a hands-on opportunity to assess rangeland vegetation, estimate forage availability in a pasture and develop forage budgets for cattle. The class will be led by Chris Allison, a professor and Extension range specialist, who is the head of the Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources Department at NMSU. Andres Cibils, an assistant professor of range science, will be co-instructor for the course.

The computer class will be a refresher course on effective Web sites and helpful software.

"Computer skills vary greatly and many ranchers now use a computer in analyzing and planning their ranch business. Many others do not," said Allen Torell, a professor of agricultural economics at NMSU. "We will discuss the various ways computers can improve decisions on the ranch including using the Web to keep updated on beef prices, lease rates and other prices of interest, and searching for any information of interest."

The course also will examine spreadsheets.

"Spreadsheets are widely used for budgeting, storing information, analyzing alternatives and answering 'what if' type questions," Torell said. "The importance of these spreadsheet applications will be highlighted along with a review of other programs that can be used for ranch planning and to keep ranch financial and livestock records. Because computer skills vary so widely, an extended question and answer period is planned to answer the many common questions about computer purchase, protection from viruses and other disasters."

Cox will instruct the third course.

"The purpose of this class is not to discuss the political and regulatory factors in a mandatory national ID program, but how EID can be a labor-saving tool for ranchers," Cox said. "This class will present the components of a working EID ranch system used to maintain animal identification with less effort, how it can streamline individual animal performance record keeping, and how to manage these records with different software programs."

A beef lunch will be served from noon to 1 p.m.

To reach the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, travel on U.S. 54 for a short distance north of Corona, then turn right on the county road that leads under the railroad overpass. The ranch headquarters is about eight miles east of the highway.

The Corona Range and Livestock Research Center is a 27,000-acre working ranch laboratory located near the geographical center of the state of New Mexico, just east of the village of Corona. The research center is operated by NMSU's Animal and Range Sciences Department. Research programs, as well as graduate student studies, are a major part of the research center's activities. They are incorporated into the normal production cycle of both the cattle and sheep commercial operations, as well as with a registered Angus seedstock herd.

For more information about the field day, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, contact Petersen in advance at (505) 646-1750 or e-mail marpeter@nmsu.edu.