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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: New technologies to enhance sustainability of northern Great Plains grasslands

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Integrating pasture-based livestock production with annual crop production on the Great Plains to reduce loss of grassland wildlife

Authors
item Kronberg, Scott
item Johnson, W -
item Archer, David
item Zilverberg, Cody -
item Boe, Arvid -
item Schumacher, Tom -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Tallgrass prairie has been replaced by corn and soybeans and mixed-grass prairie is being replaced by various annual crops. Annual crop fields support vegetarian diets but not much wildlife. Alternatively, integrating pastured livestock farming with annual crops can provide wildlife habitat. For example, a farm in South Dakota, surrounded by corn and soybean fields, restored 203 ha (500 ac) to tallgrass prairie and generates income from grass-based farming. Assuming farmers provided labor, net income was $60,000 in 2012 (5th year) and is expected to grow. Bobolinks, dickcissels, grasshopper sparrows, meadowlarks, and upland sandpipers were abundant nesters. Bobolink numbers reached 50 males per 100 ha in 2012. There have been significant increases in amphibians in restored wetlands especially spring peepers and western chorus frogs. These results indicate potential for increasing wildlife on the Great Plains when grass-based farming is added to landscape dominated by annual crops.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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