Submitted to: Sod-Based Cropping Systems Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2003
Publication Date: 2/20/2003
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J., Stuedemann, J.A. 2003. Impact of cattle and forage management on soil surface properties in the southern piedmont usa. Sod-Based Cropping Systems Conference. p.71-80.
Technical Abstract: Forages are an integral part of the agricultural landscape in the southeastern USA. Although the benefit of forages on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties has been fairly well documented following the implementation of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the USA, less information is available on the effects of cattle grazing on soil properties. We summarized some physical, chemical, and biological soil responses to different forages with and without cattle grazing from several recent experiments conducted in the Southern Piedmont region of Georgia. Forage have great potential to naturally loosen surface soil due to the accumulation of soil organic matter, which buffers against animal traffic. The return of feces to the soil surface with grazing is beneficial to the sequestration of soil organic C and N. Animal grazing of forage has large and immediate positive impacts on soil microbial biomass and potential activity. These results indicate that utilization of forages with cattle grazing can enhance the beneficial effects of forages on soil surface properties.