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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Simulation of Multiple-Species Pastures in Dairy and Beef Production

Authors
item Corson, Michael
item Rotz, Clarence
item Sanderson, Matt
item Skinner, Robert

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 6, 2005
Publication Date: June 12, 2005
Citation: Corson, M.S., Rotz, C.A., Sanderson, M.A., Skinner, R.H. 2005. Simulation of multiple-species pastures in dairy and beef production. American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings. 14:1-5.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: The Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) simulates production, harvest, and storage of crops and forage; cattle grazing and feeding; dairy or beef production; and nutrient cycling over many years of weather at a whole-farm scale. The pasture submodel of IFSM was modified to allow simulation of forage mixtures with up to four species. The model was used to predict whole-farm effects of utilizing multiple-species pastures. Model predictions were calibrated and evaluated with observations from a multiple-species pasture experiment conducted near State College, PA. Once calibrated, the model was used to simulate two hypothetical dairy farms: one applying 150 lb/acre of nitrogen fertilizer each year on a grass-only pasture and one applying no nitrogen fertilizer on a 3-species pasture. Model predictions of average yearly pasture yield and quality, nutrient cycling, and farm-level economics were compared over 25 years of weather. On average, the model predicted 4% higher yield for the 3-species pasture and 16% higher annual profit, due mainly to lower feed costs. The farm with the 3-species pasture also leached less soil nitrogen to groundwater. The model provides a useful tool for comparing the whole-farm effects of various forage mixtures over many years of weather.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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