Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research2013 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Identify forage materials and management practices that extend the productive grazing period of pastures and reduce the need for off-farm purchased inputs in order to reduce costs of production, increase resilience of production systems and reduce economic risks on small and limited resource farms.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
ARS will develop resource-efficient approaches to increasing supply, quality and sustainability of forages for small farms through experiments in controlled environment, in small-plot field trials or on cooperating farmers’ fields. Work will be carried out in cooperation with faculty and staff of Langston University and its Center for Outreach programs.
3. Progress Report:
On low-productivity land typical of that used by small producers, application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is essential if the benefit of planting cool-season grass is to be realized. However, the effectiveness of fertilizer application varies according to time of year, and, faced with increasing cost of N fertilizer, it is important for small farmers to make the most efficient use of this limited resource. An experiment to evaluate the relative benefit of fall- or spring-applied N for annual ryegrass was repeated in FY2013. Plots of tall fescue were established in early FY2013, to allow further study of the effect of timing of N application on N use efficiency (unit forage produced per unit of N applied) with a perennial cool-season grass. Work with tall fescue is planned to begin in early FY2014.