Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/2005
Publication Date: 1/20/2006
Citation: Burns, J.C. 2005. Grazing research in the humid east: an historical perspective. Crop Science.
Interpretive Summary: Grazing, as an area of experimentation, has been slow to emerge. Early information on pasture utilization occurred in informational documents and as demonstrations published in bulletin format. The first formal grazing experiment (pasture treatments replicated) was reported in the early 1950s. However, statistics were not applied to grazing-animal response data until the early 1960s. Grazing experiments have a plant component and an animal component, and proper statistical treatment must address both sources of variation. This was an important hold up in the application of statistics to grazing data. A major problem in the development of this research area was the splitting of the plant and animal disciplines into separate administrative structures. This remains a major problem today, regardless of public agency, for the proper conduct of grazing research. The major milestones that have occurred in the development of grazing research have been identified, as have the important contributing innovations. Areas worthy of future grazing research have been noted and associated major constraints have been identified. Because forages and grasslands are a national, renewable natural resource they warrant proper management to benefit the good of the American people.
Technical Abstract: An historical perspective of the major developments in grazing research for the humid Eastern USA was addressed. Consideration was given to the emergence of the area of grazing research relative to the initial structure of agricultural institutions, the orientation of scientist within the constraints of the institutional boundaries (departments) and the carry-through noted today. Early grazing research was constrained to the informal literature and discussed as informational, demonstrational and experimental. The milestones that have been achieved, including statistical application, conceptual assessment, description of grazing management, methods of computing pasture yields, the origin and use of put-and-take stocking, pasture and animal-biomass relationships, choice of stocking method, flexible grazing, and measurements in recent grazing research are presented and discussed relative to their origin and application. Furthermore, consideration was given to a number of important innovations with origin in the humid East that have contributed to the advancement of grazing research. Finally, brief consideration is given to future priority areas of grazing research and associated constraints.