Saving Money & Improving Landscapes

Saving Money & Improving Landscapes

Saving Money & Improving Landscapes

Many people believe that livestock degrade rangelands and riparian ecosystems, and that the only solution is to protect waterways with fencing or to remove livestock from rangelands altogether. Livestock have also been blamed for decreased biodiversity and an increase in invasive species. Meanwhile economic pressures, combined with these societal and environmental concerns, make it increasingly difficult for agricultural-based businesses to survive and thrive.

Two and a half decades of research demonstrate that the solution to these problems may be the animals themselves. By understanding principles of behavior, livestock practices can be modified to change the behavior of animals. The foundation is simple: behavior depends on consequences. Positive consequences increase and negative consequences decrease the likelihood of a behavior recurring. Understanding animal behavior will in many cases allow managers to shape our animals to fit our landscapes rather than using expensive machinery and herbicides to alter rangelands to fit animals. This project sought to highlight four behavioral modification practices for improving rangeland health and reducing the cost of production.

Beth Burritt of Utah State University and her partners created a DVD/CD multimedia project entitled Saving money and Improving Landscapes: The Economics of Behavior. The project includes four video segments on the economics of behavior. They are: 1) Improve Rangeland Use and Profitability: Using Low Moisture Block to Extend the Grazing Season, 2) Reduce Feed Costs and Improve Feed Efficiency: Let Animals Mix their Own Diets, 3) Improve Rangeland Use and Profitability: Herding and Low Stress Handling, and 4) Cost Effective Weed Management: Training Cows to Eat Them.


Project products are developed as part of SARE grants. They are made available with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within project products do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) EW06-019, Using Videos as a Teaching Tool: Improving Profits and Rangelands Through Application of Behavioral Principles .

Product specs
Year: 2010
Author(s): Beth Burritt, Utah State University
Location: Utah | West
How to order

Only available online

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.