Submitted to: Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2006
Publication Date: 4/11/2006
Citation: Burner, D.M. 2006. Loblolly pine-based forage production: What we're learning in Arkansas. Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings. p. 13-19.
Technical Abstract: Pine alleys can be used for rotational livestock grazing, but intense planning and management are needed to assure there is an adequate supply of quality forage. Producers should select suitable sites to plant trees at appropriate stocking levels to maximize the grazing potential until the first thinning, while at the same time assuring that tree density meets long term production objectives. Orchardgrass appears to be at least as competitive, if not more so, than tall fescue in pine alleys despite being at its extreme southeastern range limit in western Arkansas. Tall fescue may not be a sustainable alley crop except under minimal grass-tree competition in wide alleys, although it should be possible to develop tall fescue cultivars with enhanced shade or drought tolerance. Swards can be managed primarily for yield (by tree pruning and thinning). Nutritive value, except for total nonstructural carbohydrates, will generally respond as typical for conventionally-managed forage. Special attention should be paid to forage nitrates because N fertilization of shaded forage can foster nitrate accumulation. The integration of pines, forage, and livestock on the same land unit requires more management and thought than monoculture production. Nevertheless, the advantages of commodity diversification through agroforestry should improve the economic and biological sustainability farming in the U.S.