Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/3/2006
Publication Date: 12/19/2006
Citation: Belesky, D.P., Bryan, W.B., Murphy, W.B., Rayburn, E.B. 2006. Cool-season grass and legume pastures. In: Rayburn, E.B. (ed). Forage utilization for pasture-based livestock production. Ithaca, NY. NRAES-173.
Technical Abstract: Cool-season grass and legume pastures are the common denominator of many grazing livestock operations in the northeastern U.S. Pasture is a soil-plant-grazer continuum that functions within the management, economic, and environmental features of a particular farming operation. Understanding how soils, plants, and grazers interact is critical to the successful economic and environmentally sustainable production of livestock on pasture. Although components often are the same on different farms, the way in which the individual aspects operate and interact can be unique. An overview is presented to develop a basic understanding of pasture productivity as a function of forage plant growth and response to grazing events. Seasonal patterns of forage plant production, the botanical composition of the stand, and their interactions with stand management are discussed in terms of grazing practices. The information presented should have immediate practical utility to pasture managers and small-scale livestock producers using cool-season forage resources in their farming operations.