Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/7/2003
Publication Date: 12/7/2003
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J., Stuedemann, J.A. Grazing management to improve soil quality in the southeastern usa. Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands. 2003. p. 496-504. CD ROM. Nashville, TN.
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. Forages 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 also has large and immediate positive impacts on soil microbial biomass and potential activity. Our results suggest that utilization of forages with cattle grazing can enhance the beneficial effects of forages on soil surface properties. Grazinglands in the southeastern USA managed with a moderate grazing pressure can (1) provide economic opportunities for landowners with low risk tolerance, (2) improve degraded land by building longterm soil fertility, (3) improve water utilization and quality within the landscape, and (4) help mitigate the greenhouse effect by storing C as soil organic matter.