Cougar Cattle Feeders, Undergrad Research, Extension Impact

Cougar Cattle Feeders Finish Strong with Co-op Venture

With the semester quickly coming to a close, Washington State University students in the Cougar Cattle Feeders are working to finish their herd of 120 for market.

Starting in October, the group received 20 donated calves and 55 custom fed calves from 10 producers, each with 5 to 6 head participating, according to Animal Sciences professor Charles Gaskins, who also serves as advisor for the group. He noted that this year is slightly different, with feed lot owners and operators enriching the students’ educational experience.

“For the first time ever, we have a cooperative agreement with the Washington Cattle Feeders, a trade association of cattle feeders in the state, feed lot owners and operators,” Gaskins said. “They are very interested in being involved in the training of students to become managers in the cattle feeding industry.”

Toward that end, they placed 45 animals in the custom feeding program. “That is a much more uniform group than we traditionally get,” Gaskins said, which gives students a larger comparison pool for different feeding techniques.

Cougar Cattle Feeders is a long-time student organization that solicits donations of weaned calves, raises the cattle at a laboratory facility on the Pullman campus, provides its partners with comprehensive growth and carcass data, and then harvests and sells a portion of the herd for profit. Profits generally net about $20,000 for the Cougar Pride Scholarship program in the Department of Animal Sciences.

“Cougar Cattle Feeders gives students a unique opportunity for hands-on work with animals at the university,” Gaskins said. “They get to apply the things they learn in the classroom and see the results.”

For more information on Cougar Cattle Feeders, please visit:

Cougar Cattle Feeders

Cougar Cattle Feeders

CAHNRS Undergrad Researchers Rock the House

More than 30 students in the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences received grants to conduct undergraduate research on topics ranging from collecting cortisol to quantify quality of family life to opportunistic viral infections of domestic fowl.

Sponsored by the CAHNRS Office of Academic Programs, students presented their research results during WSU’s annual Mom’s Weekend.

For video highlights of presentations as well as close-up profiles of a few of the researchers, please visit:

Julia Pastorz, one of over 30 undergrad research who presented findings during WSU's annual Mom's Weekend

Julia Pasztor, one of over 30 undergrad researchers who presented findings during WSU’s annual Mom’s Weekend.

Local Impacts

Impact: Building Smart Livestock Enterprises in Kittitas County

WSU Kittitas County Extension works with agricultural producers to help them realize improvements in livestock production, rangeland condition, and economic and ecological sustainability of rangeland-dependent enterprises.

Kittitas County has many small acreage rural landowners who may have little or no background in land management or animal husbandry. This large and growing constituency controls many acres and has a significant influence on watershed function. For the past five years, WSU Extension has partnered with the Kittitas County Conservation District to help new residents learn how to revegetate abandoned or poorly managed pastures and rangeland, and how to protect water quality near livestock confinement facilities.

While export-quality timothy hay has become the highest income crop in Kittitas County, livestock production remains strong—the county is among the top five beef producers in Washington. It is increasingly important for livestock owners to practice managed grazing to accomplish management objectives not directly related to livestock production in order to remain in business. Livestock producers responsible for management of more than 75,000 acres of irrigated pasture and rangeland have participated in WSU Extension programs to promote sound grazing practices and monitor grazing effects on rangeland ecosystems.

For more information on the value of WSU Extension in Kittitas County, please visit:

Impact: Bio Control of Cereal Leaf Beetle in Spokane County

The cereal leaf beetle, a significant pest of small grains and a threat to grass hay, was first detected in Spokane County in 1999. The small, iridescent, blue beetle has been spreading across the U.S. for the past 40 years. In cooperation with local growers and state and federal agencies, WSU Extension established a biological control project to keep cereal leaf beetle populations below the economic threshold. As a result, very little chemical insecticide has been needed in Spokane County to control the pest. This control method saves Spokane County grain growers $750,000 annually in insecticide application costs. Without the controls, probable crop damage from the beetle is estimated at $4,300,000 in Spokane County alone.

For more information on the value of WSU Extension in Spokane County, please visit:

Top: cereal leaf beetle and, bottom, a vista in Kittitas County

Top: cereal leaf beetle and, bottom, a vista in Kittitas County.