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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Hill-land Grazing Management
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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.

CRIS Alignment to REE Research Area Priorities

Scientific Staff

  • James P. Stetter Neel, Lead Scientist, Research Animal Scientist
    Influence of grazing system, forage specie and diet chemical composition on the quality and quantity of forage produced animal products. 

  • David P. Belesky, Research Agronomist
    Forage productivity and quality in hill-pasture as a function of environmental and management factors.

  • Douglas G. Boyer, Hydrologist, Acting Research Leader
    Hydrology and water quality relationships on grazed landscapes.

  • Charles M. Feldhake, Soil Scientist
    Water and energy budgets in relation to topographic and inter-species resource allocation in agroforestry systems.

  • J. J. Halvorson, Soil Scientist
    Biogeochemistry of Appalachian soils with emphasis in the role of soil organic matter in pasture-managed systems.

  • Kenneth E. Turner, Research Animal Scientist
    Grazing management to synchronize forage availability and quality with nutritional requirements.

  • Richard W. Zobel, Plant Physiologist
    Physiological processes of plant roots interacting with soils of the region.

Last Modified: 9/30/2010
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