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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective is to assess and report the science on environmental effects of major conservation practices at the regional and national levels. The primary purpose is to construct the scientific foundation for the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) by documenting what is known and what is not known about the environmental effects of conservation practices on pasture lands in a book.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The American Forage and Grassland Council will organize the design and publishing of a book documenting what is known and what is not known about the environmental affects of conservation practices on pasture lands. By recruiting lead authors, appropriate literature will be synthesized to document the science behind four primary conservation practices: (1) prescribed grazing, (2) nutrient management, (3) forage harvest management, and (4) pasture and hayland planting. A 5th chapter will be developed to address integrated conservation and management systems.

3. Progress Report:
This is the final report for this agreement. Writing teams of university, Agricultural Research Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service scientists developed a literature synthesis on pastureland conservation practices. The publication evaluates the scientific basis for support of NRCS Practice Standards including Planting for Hay, Silage,and Biomass (Practice Code 512), Prescribed Grazing (Code 528), Forage Harvest Management (Code 511) and Nutrient Management (Code 590). The pastureland literature synthesis provides an unprecedented source of evidence-based information to guide the development and assessment of management practices and conservation programs on the nation's pasturelands. The American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) facilitated the work of the writing teams and assisted in the publication of the document. An executive summary of the book was published in August 2012. The final book was printed and distributed in January 2013. The literature synthesis is available online at The book has been distributed widely to research user groups across the US. In addition to the published book, the writing teams also presented their findings to producers and scientists at the annual meetings of the American Forage and Grassland Council, the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and the Crop Science Society of America. A webinar was broadcast January 24, 2013 to inform NRCS state personnel about the grazing land CEAP publication. As a follow up to the book, a series of CEAP Science Notes and Conservation Insights highlighting specific findings and recommendations for each conservation practice will be developed and distributed. During the life of this project, a comprehensive literature synthesis was written, published, and widely distributed; an executive summary was widely distributed; and three major national symposia and a national webinar were held highlighting the findings and recommendations from the literature synthesis book.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 08/15/2017
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