Walter H. Schacht  Professor

Walter H. Schacht portrait

Contact Information

Area of Focus

Grassland Ecology

Degrees

  • B.S., Biology and Environmental Studies, Dana College, 1975
  • M.S., Agronomy (Range Management), University of Nebraska, 1981
  • Ph.D., Range Science, Utah State University, 1986

Research Interests

I work with an interdisciplinary team of scientists in grassland ecology and management. My principal area of research emphasizes ecosystem response to grazing and associated management practices in the Nebraska Sandhills and cool-season grass pasture. Specifically, my current studies focus on nitrogen cycling and use efficiency on grazing lands, ecology and utilization of shrubs (e.g., leadplant) and grasses (e.g., smooth bromegrass) on grazing lands, herbage production and animal performance in response to grazing systems, the effect of supplementation strategies on herbage utilization and productivity, the relationship between density and composition of upland songbirds and grazing strategies, and woody plant encroachment on grasslands. Overall, I am interested in developing management strategies that ensure the ecological and economic sustainability of grazing lands for multiple uses, including livestock grazing.

Courses Taught

Resident:

  • RNGE/AGRO 340 Range Management and Improvement
  • RNGE/AGRO 445/AGRO 845 Livestock Management on Range and Pasture
  • AGRO 940 Forage Evaluation

On-line:

  • ASCI/AGRO 824 Principles of Forage Quality and Evaluation for Ruminants

Study Abroad:

  • NRES 492/AGRI 310 Tropical Ecosystems

Extension Interests

Providing rangeland managers of Nebraska with the best information available on ecosystem response to grazing management practices.

Major Project Activities

My research project emphasizes the development and evaluation of grazing strategies for range and pasture in the Nebraska Sandhills and eastern Nebraska. I am a principal investigator in studies quantifying range vegetation response to season and intensity of grazing at UNL's Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory in the west central Sandhills and in a grazing systems comparison study at UNL's Barta Brothers Ranch in the northeastern Sandhills. In eastern Nebraska, we are studying nutrient cycling, particularly focusing on nitrogen, and livestock performance in mixtures of smooth bromegrass and legumes. A component of my project in eastern Nebraska also includes improvement of pasture quality with the use of fire, grazing strategies, legumes, and herbicides. Emphasis is also placed on grassland management effects on carbon sequestration, soil quality, and wildlife habitat. Graduate students are integral to my research project. I also am active in undergraduate education as I am the advisor for the Range Management Club and a faculty member of the Grassland Ecology and Management, Grazing Livestock Systems, and Plant Biology majors. 

Selected Publications

  • Peterson, K.W., C.J. Wegner, K.L. Amundsen, R.E. Gaussoin, W.H. Schacht, G.L. Horst, and R.C. Shearman. 2013. Mowing height and genotype influence on carbohydrate content of buffalograss. Crop Sci. 53:1-8.
  • Meyer, T. L., L. A. Stalker, J. D. Volesky, D. C. Adams, R. N. Funston, T. J. Klopfenstein, and W. H. Schacht. 2012. Estimating livestock forage demand: Evaluating the animal unit concept. Prof. Anim. Sci. 28:664-669.
     
  • Stalker, L. A., T. J. Klopfenstein, W. H. Schacht, and J. D. Volesky. 2012. Dried distillers grains as a substitute for grazed forage. Prof. Anim. Sci. 28:612-617.
     
  • Doehling, C, F. Baxendale, T. Heng-Moss, and W. Schacht. 2012. Influence of pasture management regimes on the abundance of four target beetle groups. Review of Undergraduate Research in Agricultural and Life Sciences 7:1-12.
     
  • Watson, A. K., Klopfenstein, T., Schacht, W., Erickson, G., Mark, D. R., Luebbe, M., Brink, K. R., Greenquist, M. A. 2012. Smooth bromegrass pasture beef growing systems: fertilization strategies and economic analysis. Prof. Anim. Sci. 28:433-451.
  • Volesky, J.D., W.H. Schacht, A.E. Koehler, E. Blankenship, and P.E. Reece. 2011. Defoliation effects on herbage production and root growth of wet meadow forage species. Rangeland Ecol. & Manage. 64:506-513.
     
  • Mousel, E.M., W.H. Schacht, P.E. Reece, A.E. Herron, and A. Koehler. 2011. Vegetation production responses to October grazing in the Nebraska Sandhills. Rangeland Ecol. & Manage: 64: 208-214.
  • M.A. Greenquist, A. K. Schwarz, T. J. Klopfenstein, W. H. Schacht, G. E. Erickson, K. J. Vander Pol, M. K. Luebbe, K. R. Brink and L. B. Boleseng. 2011. Effects of fertilization and dried distillers grains supplementation: Nitrogen Use efficiency. J. Anim. Sci. 89:1146-1152.
  • Giovanni, M.D., M. Post Van der Burg, L.C. Anderson, L.A. Powell, W.H. Schacht, and A.J. Tyre. 2011. Estimating nest density when nest detectability is incomplete: variation in rates of nest attendance and behavioral response by adult western meadowlarks. Condor 213:223-232.
  • Schmer, M.R., R.B. Mitchell, K.P. Vogel, W.H. Schacht, and D.B. Marx. 2010. Efficient methods of estimating switchgrass supplies. BioEnerg. Res. 3:243-250.
     
  • Peterson, K.W., R.C. Shearman, R.E. Gaussoin, G.L. Horst, and W.H. Schacht. 2010. Growing degree-day influence on sprigged establishment of two buffalo grass cultivars. HortScience 45:293-298.
     
  • Schmer, M.R., R.B. Mitchell, K.P. Vogel, W.H. Schacht, and D.A. Marx. 2010. Spatial and temporal effects on switchgrass stands and yield in the Great Plains. BioEnergy Res. 3:159-171.
     
  • Greenquist, M.A., T.J. Klopfenstein, W.H. Schacht, G.E. Erickson, K.J. Vander Pol, M.K. Luebbe, K.R. Brink, A.K. Swartz, and L.B. Baleseng. 2009. Effects of nitrogen fertilization and dried distillers grains supplementation: forage use and performance of yearling steers. J. Anim. Sci. 87:3639-3646.
  • Greenquist, M.A., T.J. Klopfenstein, W.H. Schacht, G.E. Erickson, K.J. Vander Pol, M.K. Luebbe, K.R. Brink, A.K. Swartz, and L.B. Baleseng. 2009. Effects of nitrogen fertilization and dried distillers grains supplementation: forage use and performance of yearling steers. J. Anim. Sci. In press.
     
  • Schmer, M.R., R.B. Mitchell, K.P. Vogel, W.H. Schacht, and D.A. Marx. 2009. Spatial and temporal effects on switchgrass stands and yield in the Great Plains. BioEnergy Res. In press.
     
  • Perry, M.E.L., W.H. Schacht, G.A. Ruark, and J.R. Brandle. 2009. Tree canopy effect on grass and grass/legume mixtures in eastern Nebraska. Agroforestry Systems. In press.
     
  • Volesky, J.D., W.H. Schacht, P.E. Reece, and T.J. Vaughn. 2007. Diet composition of cattle grazing Sandhills range during spring. Rangeland Ecol. Manage. 60:65-70.
     
  • Reece, P.E., J.W. Morris, W.H. Schacht, A.E. Koehler, J.D. Volesky, and L.E. Moser. 2007. Prairie sandreed response to preceding-year defoliation and precipitation regime. Great Plains Res. 17:215-224.
     
  • Mousel, E.M., W.H. Schacht, C.W. Zanner, and D.A. Wedin. 2007. Comparison of botanical composition, soil carbon content, and root distribution of subirrigated meadows in the Nebraska Sandhills. Great Plains Res. 17:47-60.
     
  • Reece, P.E., A.E. Kohler, W.D. Whisenhunt, J.D. Volesky, and W.H. Schacht, 2007. A passive application watering system for rangeland plots. Rangeland Ecol. Manage. 60:203-207.
     
  • Smart, A.J., W.H. Schacht, J.D. Volesky, and L.E. Moser. 2006. Seasonal changes in dry matter partitioning, yield, and crude protein of intermediate wheatgrass and smooth bromegrass. Agron. J. 98:986-991.
     
  • Schacht, W.H. and P.E. Reece. 2008. Impact of livestock grazing on extensively-managed grazing lands. In: Richard McDowell, ed. Impacts of pastoral grazing on the environment. CABI, Oxfordshire, UK.  
  • Mousel, E.M., W.H. Schacht, C.W. Zanner, and D.A. Wedin. 2007. Comparison of botanical composition, soil carbon content, and root distribution of subirrigated meadows in the Nebraska Sandhills. Great Plains Research 17:47-60.
     
  • Reece, P.E., A.E. Kohler, W.D. Whisenhunt, J.D. Volesky, and W.H. Schacht, 2007. A passive application watering system for rangeland plots. Rangeland Ecol. Manage. 60:203-207.
     
  • Reece, P.E., J.W. Morris, W.H. Schacht, A.E. Koehler, J.D. Volesky, and L.E. Moser. 2007. Prairie sandreed response to preceding-year defoliation and precipitation regime. Great Plains Research. 17:215-224.
     
  • Volesky, J.D., W.H. Schacht, P.E. Reece, and T.J. Vaughn. 2007. Diet composition of cattle grazing Sandhills range during spring. Rangeland Ecol. Manage. 60:65-70.
     
  • Mousel, E.M., L.E. Moser, and W.H. Schacht. 2006. Impact of student background characteristics on performance in an introductory forage crops management course. NACTA J. 50:8-12.
     
  • Smart, A.J., W.H. Schacht, J.D. Volesky, and L.E. Moser. 2006. Seasonal changes in dry mater partitioning, yield, and crude protein of intermediate wheatgrass and smooth bromegrass. Agron. J. 98:986-991.
     
  • Volesky, J.D., W.H. Schacht, P.E. Reece, and T.J. Vaughn. 2005. Spring growth and use of cool-season graminoids in the Nebraska Sandhills. Rangeland Ecol. Manage. 58:385-392.
     
  • Schacht, W.H., A. Guru, P.E. Reece, J.D. Volesky, and D. Cotton. 2005. Using geospatial information technologies and fied research to enhance classroom learning. J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ. 34:62-66.
     
  • Mousel, E.M., W.H. Schacht, C.W. Zanner, and L.E. Moser. 2005. Effects of summer grazing strategies on organic reserves and root characteristics of big bluestem. Crop Sci. 45:2008-2014.
     
  • Volesky, J.D., W.H. Schacht, and D.M. Richardson. 2004. Stocking rate and grazing frequency effects on Sandhills meadows. J. Range Manage. 57:553-560.
     
  • Reece, P.E., W.H. Schacht, and A.E. Koehler. 2004. Stiff sunflower population dynamics on summer-grazed Sandhills rangeland. J. Range Manage. 57:76-82.
     
  • Smart, A.J., W.H. Schacht, L.E. Moser, and J.D. Volesky. 2004. Prediction of leaf/stem ratio using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS): a technical note. Agron. J. 96:316-318.
     
  • Schacht, W.H. and M.L. McInnis. 2003. Status of undergraduate education in range science in the USA. J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ. 32:57-60.
     
  • Awada, T., M.E.L. Perry, and W.H. Schacht. 2003. Ecophysiological responses of a C3 grass and C4 grass to tree canopy cover. Can. J. Plant Sci. 83:533-540.
     
  • Mousel, E.M., W.H. Schacht, and L.E. Moser. 2003. Summer grazing strategies following early-season grazing of big bluestem. Agron. J. 95:1240-1245.
     
  • Burboa-Cabrera, F.R., W.H. Schacht, and B.E. Anderson. 2003. Grazing distribution and utilization in warm-season grass paddocks at four stocking densities. J. Range Manage. 56:327-332.
     
  • Awada, T., L.E. Moser, W.H. Schacht, and P.E. Reece. 2002. Stomatal variability of native warm-season grasses from the Nebraska Sandhills. Can J. Plant Sci. 82:349-355.
     
  • Smart, A.J., W.H. Schacht, and L.E. Moser. 2001. Predicting leaf/stem ratio and nutritive value in grazed and ungrazed big bluestem. Agron. J. 93:1243-1249.
     
  • Schacht, W.H., A.J. Smart, and E.M. Mosel. 2001. Artificial swards to demonstrate plant-grazing animal interactions. J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ. 30:89-92.
     
  • Reece, P.E., J.D. Volesky, and W.H. Schacht. 2001. Cover for wildlife after summer grazing on Sandhills rangeland. J. Range Manage. 54:126-131.
     
  • Schacht, W.H., J.D. Volesky, D. Bauer, A.J. Smart, and E. Mousel. 2000. Plant community patterns on upland range in eastern Sandhills. Prairie Naturalist 32:43-58.
     
  • Adams, D.C., M.K. Nielsen, W.H. Schacht, and R.T. Clark. 2000. Designing experiments for beef cows grazing on rangeland. Proc. Anim. Soc. Anim Sci. (http:www.asas.org/symposia/proceedings/0947.pdf pp 1-18.
     
  • Broweleit, R.C., W.H. Schacht, B.E. Anderson, and A.J. Smart. 2000. Effects of adapting cattle to small paddocks on forage removal and grazing time. J. Range Manage. 53:284-288.