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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Forage-Animal Production Research Unit: Most Recent Agriculture Research Service Location

Authors
item Strickland, James
item Aiken, Glen

Submitted to: International Neotyphodium Grass Interactions
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 18, 2004
Publication Date: May 23, 2004
Citation: Aiken,G.E., Strickland , J.R. 2004. Forage-animal production research unit: most recent agriculture research service location. International Neotyphodium Grass Interactions. 5/23/04 Paper 517

Interpretive Summary: Forage-Animal Production Research Unit: Most Recent Agriculture Research Service Location J. R. Strickland and G. E. Aiken USDA-ARS, Forage-Animal Production Research Unit N220 Ag Science North, University of Kentucky Campus Lexington, KY 40546 INTRODUCTION The transition zone (Figure 1) of the eastern and midwestern USA is an important cattle and horse production environment. Livestock production within this zone is heavily dependent on forage systems for sustainability and future competitiveness in agriculture. Forages not only supply an economical means of delivering nutrients, but also function to conserve soil and water resources. With increasing foreign agricultural competition and urbanization of the human population, forage-based enterprises in the United States are under pressure to become increasingly more efficient in order to remain competitive and environmentally sustainable within the world market. Hindering the ability of forage-based enterprises to become more competitive is the limited fundamental information concerning the effects of environment and management on plant quality and production. Although data on plant nutrient effects on animal health and performance have been well studied at the production level, it is only recently that fundamental information (e.g., cellular mechanisms) concerning how these production level effects are elicited has become a focus. Thus, the available information for predicting animal performance in response to plant nutrient consumption is of limited use, especially considering the lack of understanding of plant nutrient interactions with the environment and genetic expression of the grazing animal. Even more problematic is that the effects of plant nutraceuticals and anti-quality factors on nutrient intake, metabolism and assimilation for product or work is extremely limited. Further, there is limited understanding of how these factors modulate the defense mechanisms of animals grazing forage. In response to these issues, the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) received a program increase in FY2002 to establish the Forage-Animal Production Research Unit (FAPRU) in Lexington, KY. FAPRU came into physical existence in March of 2003 with the hiring of the Research Leader. The mission of FAPRU is to improve productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of forage-based enterprises through improved understanding of the fundamental biological processes that occur at the animal-plant interface (Figure 2). METHODS FAPRU's mission is accomplished through the use of multidisciplinary-interinstitutional teams that will work to identify, evaluate, and manipulate genetic and physiological factors for the enhancement of animal health and performance and to improve forage plant persistence and production. FAPRU is planning a focus group meeting for the summer of 2004. This meeting will aide the unit in finalizing the scope of its objectives. To begin the process, FAPRU, in close collaboration with the University of Kentucky (UK, Lexington, KY), Mid South Area Office (Stoneville, MS) and National Program Staff (Beltsville, MD), has developed a tentative list of general project objectives. Objective 1: Identify factors affecting forage plant persistence and performance. Elements may include: a) defining the ecophysiologic and ecosystem factors affecting forage plant distribution and quality; b) profiling and characterizing plant metabolite changes in forage systems under varying management and environmental conditions; and c) defining the genetic mechanisms controlling metabolite expression, persistence, and performance of herbage plants. Objective 2: Identify factors affecting health and performance of animals produced in forage-based enterprises. Elements may include: a) determining the effects of plant metabolites on genomic control of forage intake,

Technical Abstract: Abstract: The Forage-Animal Production Research Unit in Lexington, Kentucky is located within the transition zone of the eastern and midwestern United States. As this transition zone is a major contributor to forage-animal production in the United States, the unit was established with the mission to improve productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of forage-based enterprises within the zone. This mission is accomplished through the use of multidisciplinary-interinstitutional teams which work to identify, evaluate, and manipulate genetic and physiologic factors for the enhancement of food animal and equine health and performance in forage-based enterprises and to improve forage plant persistence and production. Interpretative Summary: The Forage-Animal Production Research Unit in Lexington, Kentucky is located within the transition zone of the eastern and midwestern United States. As this transition zone is a major contributor to forage-animal production in the United States, the unit was established with the mission to improve productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of forage-based enterprises within the zone. This mission is accomplished through the use of multidisciplinary-interinstitutional teams which work to identify, evaluate, and manipulate genetic and physiologic factors for the enhancement of food animal and equine health and performance in forage-based enterprises and to improve forage plant persistence and production.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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