Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2008
Publication Date: 7/7/2008
Citation: Phillips, W.A., Northup, B.K., Horn, G.W. 2008. Forage-based systems for beef and dairy cattle production: Challenges and opportunities in the South Central region. American Society of Animal Science. Vol. 86. pg 310. Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.
Technical Abstract: Forage-based systems for beef and dairy cattle production: Challenges and opportunities in the South Central region. W. A. Phillips, G. W. Horn and B. K. Northup USDA-ARS El Reno, OK and Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Stillwater. The states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana comprise the South Central Region (SCR) and contain 106 million ha of agricultural land, with roughly equal halves under crop and forage production. The region is also home to 33 million beef cows and calves and 0.7 million dairy cows. The SCR is a mosaic of eco-regions varying from sub-tropic to temperate and humid to dry domains, supporting a diverse range of plant communities. In the future, forage-based production systems in the SCR will have to compete with cropping enterprises for land, water and inorganic N, and utilize perennial forages more than annual species. Further, the region’s most productive agricultural land will see increased use for grain production, to meet the increasing demands for ethanol as bio-fuel. Therefore, forage-based beef- and dairy- production systems will have to use marginal lands and employ limited amounts of expensive inorganic N. Forage-based systems have the potential to play important roles in agricultural production in the SCR. Opportunities for improving production in forage-based systems exist in utilizing bio-fuel byproducts as a feedstock, incorporating legumes as a renewable N source, extending the grazing season with combinations of cool- and warm-season swards, developing drought tolerant culitvars, increasing forage yields per unit of fossil fuel input, integrating management strategies to maximizes revenue for sequestering carbon, and applying precision agricultural tools to production systems.