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To provide Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and the public with a unique interdisciplinary environment in which to foster the Learn by Doing philosophy by providing educational experiences on a working ranch, supporting diversified agriculture and forest resources while maintaining the integrity of ranch operations.

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Monitoring Residual Dry Matter on Coastal Grasslands

Every October, students in the Rangeland Resources program at Cal Poly spend a weekend at SPR to collect samples of "Residual Dry Matter" ("RDM", dead annual grass and litter) from all the grazed pastures. The purpose of RDM monitoring is to evaluate the severity of grazing use in the previous season. When too little plant residue is left behind, it can result in poorer annual grass germination and biomass production in the following year, increase soil erosion, and provide opportunities for weeds to move in. Our goal is to manage for at least 700 lbs of RDM to be left behind at the time the fall rains (usually) return. On slopes steeper than 25%, we want to leave over 800 lbs/acre behind.

Contact: Dr. Marc Horney - mhorney@calpoly.edu

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