About 7 million hectares (17.5 million acres) in Kansas are rangeland and pastureland. The range research program at Hays focuses primarily on the mid- and shortgrass prairie region, or the western two-thirds of Kansas, which encompasses about 4.8 million hectares (12 million acres). The goal is to develop economically-viable, forage-based, beef-production systems for both cow-calf and stocker operations. Emphasis is on efficient conversion of forages to animal product and the assessment of range response and system sustainability. Energy and protein supplements, and planted forages that complement native range nutritionally, are studied in a systems context. The goal is to maintain diet quantity and quality at a level sufficient to meet cattle maintenance and growth requirements during various production phases and to extend the length of the grazing season. Cattle management alternatives such as varying stocking density and season of use, and land management inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and burning, are tested to determine their effect on animal response and range improvement.