Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 10, 2003
Publication Date: June 30, 2004
Citation: Sims, P.L., Gillen, R.L., Springer, T.L., Goldman, J.J. 2004. Research strategy for the southern plains rangeland. Proceedings 2nd National Conference on Grazing Lands, Dec. 8-10, 2003, Nashville, TN. p. 505-512. Interpretive Summary: The mission of the Southern Plains Range Research Station (SPRRS) is to develop sustainable forage-livestock production systems for Southern Plains rangeland and for the associated marginal agricultural ecosystems interspersed throughout this mixed-prairie region. Scientists at the Southern Plains Range Research Station employed the ecosystem approach to research on the native rangelands and the associated marginal farm lands. The research program is resource-driven, focusing on the same landscape resources as those available to producers, in order to simulate the way agricultural producers face daily operational decisions. The team research addresses five areas: 1) germplasm development, 2) plant physiology and ecology, 3) forage plant-soil interactions, 4) vegetation management and plant-animal interactions, and 5) alternative ecosystem utilization systems and mirrors the ARS National Program for Rangeland, Pastures, and Forages. Our goal is to provide operators an array of management alternatives that can be adapted to unique mixes of land resources, management objectives and skills, and economic goals.
Technical Abstract: The mission of the Southern Plains Range Research Station (SPRRS) is to develop sustainable forage-livestock systems for the Southern Plains rangeland and associated agricultural ecosystems. We approach this research in a manner similar to the way farmers and ranchers of the Southern Plains face management decisions on a daily basis. On any given day, producers typically manage an array of vegetation sites and crops across a number of soil types, and deal with landscape-climate interactions, nutrient status and availability, wildlife and domestic animal concerns, as well as economic, cultural, and social issues, to name just a few. Effective management and production of these units requires considerable insight to determine the ecological, environmental, and economical consequences of their management decisions on the landscape, livestock, and the economic outcome of each enterprise. Agricultural operators are ecosystem managers and must deal with the climate, soil, vegetation, animal, economic, and cultural interrelationships of the production system holistically. To meet the mission assigned to the SPRRS, we employ an ecosystem approach to scientific research on rangelands and associated marginal farm land systems. The rangeland and pasture ecosystem research program is resource-driven, using the landscape resources similar to those available to producers. To accomplish our mission, we focus our research in five areas: 1) germplasm development, 2) plant physiology and ecology, 3) forage plant-soil interactions, 4) vegetation management and plant-animal interactions, and 5) alternative ecosystem utilization systems. Each of these five research program areas is led by a scientist with appropriate expertise and supported by other scientists either leading or working in the other program areas. Although there are five program areas, the overall research program is implemented as an integrated team effort with a common goal of developing management alternatives for producers. Scientific disciplines involved in the program include soil science, plant genetics, plant physiology, ecology, rangeland sciences, rangeland animal nutrition, and systems ecology. This research also mirrors the ARS National Program for Rangeland, Pastures, and Forages. Our goal is to provide operators an array of management alternatives that they can adapt to the mix of land resources, management objectives and skills, and economic goals.