Project Number: 3064-21310-002-00
Start Date: Oct 16, 2012
End Date: Oct 15, 2017
Expanding human populations and biofuel production will require increased livestock production from existing grasslands. Increased production will come from improving the resource base and making cattle production less reliant on grain and more efficient at converting forage to meat. Because of societal expectations regarding sustainable use of natural resources, increases in livestock production must be balanced with the appropriate application of new technology to monitor and manage productivity and ecological health of grazing and hay-producing lands. This project will fill significant information gaps identified by livestock producers, land managers and action agencies as priority needs for managing forage and grazing lands. We will: 1) develop new techniques to improve abundance of cold-tolerant and palatable forbs and shrubs in grassland vegetation and extend forage quality into colder seasons; 2) determine relationships between climatic variations and livestock weight gains to improve production and reduce risk; 3) make more effective use of remote sensing information from plot and landscape levels to efficiently select conservation practices and manage livestock use of grazing resources; and 4) develop improved tools to aid public and private managers in selecting conservation and restoration strategies to improve the productivity and sustainability of hay, pasture and rangelands. Benefits from our research will include: improved productivity of cattle and profitability of cattle production, improved grassland management by public and private land managers, and new tools for monitoring and managing livestock forage use and for selecting and implementing conservation practices on grazing lands.