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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Research Project #436953

Research Project: Water and Light Use Efficiency of a Silvopasture System

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Project Number: 5030-11610-005-79-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2019
End Date: Aug 31, 2021

Objective:
Evaluate the effectiveness of the microclimate modified by agroforestry practices on production efficiency a silvopasture system.

Approach:
The project involves comparison of the water and light use efficiency of forages grown under the shade of widely-spaced trees (silvopasture) and in a conventional pasture in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The research approach utilizes surface energy balance methods to quantify differences in evapotranspiration and microclimate between forage grown beneath rows of five tree species and in the open. Tree height and diameter at breast height (DBH) will be measured annually to assess tree growth by landscape position and fertility treatment. Fertilizer and gypsum application according to the experimental design will be completed each spring at the onset of tree growth. Branch pruning for optimal growth and to enable grazing and tractor traffic will be completed as necessary. Herbicide application for weed control around trees will be completed each growing season and insecticide or fungicide application will be coordinated with research station staff on an as-needed basis.