Last week, the University of Idaho was awarded $1.28 million in grants for target technology used to improve rangeland management. Jason Karl, UI associate professor, and project lead, said the funds will go toward a pair of projects, Deploying CERT (Climate Engine Rangeland Tool), as well as the Rangeland Partnership. Karl said this is a marriage of two programs that really go hand in hand. He said researchers will fit cows with radio transmission collars, tracking the herd’s movements.
He said that information is the integrated with satellite imagery creating a new management tool, assisting private ranchers and public land managers. Karl added having this nearly real time information on forage ability and how it’s changing over large landscapes is going to be extremely valuable.
“What we’re hoping through this grant, though this deploying CERT project is that we can actually build a tool that helps that creates this longer term and sort of time series data set that these ranchers can use. And that’s something that we currently don’t have.”
Karl said without the CERT and Rangelands Partnership working together, the research will be at best incomplete.
“If we just have field observations, we can do some sort of informing of the satellite imagery from that, but unless we know actually where the cows are going, then it’s kind of an indirect link. So, having the locational information link for the cows, allows us to sort of better integrate these data sets and better train this system, this CERT tool.”
Cows at the Rock Creek Ranch in southern Idaho, and Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in NE Oregon will be fitted with collars developed at the U of I.
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