|Hill-land Grazing Management|
Impacting Forage Availability and Quality
A major limitation to efficient forage-based livestock production is asynchrony of forage availability and quality with nutritional requirements of the grazer. Weather patterns and landscape features dictate when and where forage grows and have significant impacts on nutritive value as well. Producers require dependable plant resources and management practices that improve the seasonal distribution and persistence of high quality herbage, sustainability and environmental integrity of the agricultural landscape. Producers also require a fundamental knowledge of the impacts of agricultural practices on soil and water quality to address personal goals and societal concerns. To meet these needs we identify plants adapted to regional growing conditions enabling us to create pasture communities with nutritive value matching the nutritional requirements of grazing livestock. We investigate the use of woodlots in traditional pasture systems as a means to modify the distribution and quality of forage resources. Special emphasis is placed on identifying soil physical and biophysical properties that are sensitive indicators of soil quality in grazed systems. We plan to define the relationship of grazing management and behavior with landscape features. Our goal is to design environmentally benign grazing management practices, which capitalize on the dynamics of herbage growth in complex terrain.