• Optimization of range improvements on sagebrush and pinyon-juniper sites

      Evans, S. G.; Workman, J. P. (Society for Range Management, 1994-03-01)
      The optimum combination of 3 range improvements was determined for private lands on Utah ranches. While many promising range improvements are available, determination of which alternatives to implement must consider the total ranch operation. Linear programming (LP) makes it possible to simultaneously determine the profit maximizing combinations of range improvements and how these improvements will affect the total ranch operation. The study examined 3 range improvements (revegetation, burning, and chemical brush control) for big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) and pinyon-juniper (Pinus spp.-juniperus spp.) on upland loam and upland shallow loam range sites. Net present value analysis and an LP model were used to identify the most efficient alternative, the limiting constraints, and the optimum levels and combinations of alternatives. The optimal solution ran 238 brood cows compared to 196 for the typical Utah ranch. Burning big sagebrush or pinyon-juniper infestations on crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum Fisch. ex Link) foothill ranges was the most profitable range improvement. Annual net cash incomes after burning sagebrush or pinyon-juniper on the upland loam site were 37,873 and 37,770, respectively, compared to 31,278 on the typical Utah cow-calf operation. The optimal solution will change as input and product prices change. The model was designed for application to specific ranches rather than to make general recommendations for the typical Utah ranch.