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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF TEMPERATE PASTURES AND SILVOPASTURES FOR SMALL FARM LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION Project Number: 6227-21310-008-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 01, 2007
End Date: Sep 30, 2012

Objective:
1: Determine management schemes for the sustainable production of small ruminants from temperate pastures. 2: Improve inorganic and organic fertilizer use efficiency in pastures. 2A. Improve the efficiency of organic and inorganic fertilizer use in pastures by incorporating nutrients into the soil. 2B. Evaluate the effects of grazing systems and buffers on the loss of agrochemicals from pastures and hay fields. 3: Determine the agricultural goods (e.g., crops, biomass), and ecosystem services (e.g., habitat) derived at field, farm, and landscape scales. 3A. Determine the production potential of agricultural specialty crops as components of integrated whole-farm production systems. 3A(3). Compare annual crops, perennial grasses, and short-rotation woody crops as biofuel feedstocks. 4: Develop strategies to integrate trees and grazing livestock into existing grasslands, and grasses and grazing livestock into forest stands. 4C. Determine the impacts of trees, forage shade tolerance, fertilization, and management on silvopasture performance. 4C(2). Determine the effects of N fertilization and recovery on integrated softwood-forage silvopastures. 4C(3). Determine the effects of shallow seedbed disking on understory forage production, and on loblolly pine growth and needle production. 4C(4). Determine the effect of tree spacing on wood fiber production when loblolly pine is integrated into grassland. 5: Develop conservation practices to manage the fate and transport of sediments, nutrients, antibiotics, and pathogens from agricultural inputs including synthetic fertilizer, herbicides, grazing livestock manure, and applied poultry manure. 5A. Create a comprehensive understanding of source and amelioration of contaminant transport. 5A(1). Quantify the effectiveness of agroforestry and grass buffers on phosphorus, nitrogen, herbicides, veterinary antibiotics, pathogens, and trace metals in runoff.

Approach:
Grazing and management systems will be developed for sheep and goat production to manage gastrointestinal nematodes and improve post-weaning gains of lambs and kids. A tractor-drawn implement to incorporate poultry litter under the soil surface in perennial pasture will be developed, and a comparison of nutrient losses from applied poultry litter compared to conventional surface application will be examined. Cattle grazing systems and buffers will be examined to reduce the loss of agrochemicals from pastures and hay fields by collecting runoff water samples from watersheds for sediment and nutrient analyses and soil properties will be characterized. Management practices will be evaluated that optimize the proportion of a landscape/farm in temperate pastures and silvopastures to maximize environmental and economic returns. Potential bioenergy feedstocks will be examined for their suitability to integration in mid-South pasture and silvopasture systems. Tree stocking density, alley spacing, fertilization, and shallow tillage will be evaluated to determine effects on forage, pine straw, wood fiber, and nitrogen recovery. Effects of trees and buffers on run-off and subsurface water quality and volume will be evaluated as a means to reduce off-site environmental impacts. Management practices will be evaluated that optimize the proportion of a landscape/farm in temperate pastures and silvopastures to maximize environmental and economic returns. Diverse bioenergy feedstocks will be examined across a latitudinal gradient for cold tolerance, nutritive value, and yield as a means to enhance integration and economic returns for farms in the mid-South.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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