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Title: Utilization of Pasture and Forages by Ruminants: A Historical Perspective

item Burns, Joseph

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/16/2008
Publication Date: 11/19/2008
Citation: Burns, J.C. 2008. Utilization of Pasture and Forages by Ruminants: A Historical Perspective. Journal of Animal Science. 86:3647-3663.

Interpretive Summary: This manuscript provides an historical account of the innovations that have occurred in the Journal of Animal Science over the past 100 years. Of significance, are the delineation of forage research and animal research areas and the end products of research that is generated within each. This, along with the emergent research structure that developed through the land grant system with plants and animals contained within different departments, and consequently student training, discouraged interest in across-departmental programs. The plant-animal interface is defined and described and the constraints that have challenged this area of research are presented. Innovations, as they occurred in the Journal of Animal Science over the past 100 years, are presented for each of the specific areas that are noted above in the abstract. In addition to examining forage research from the animal perspective, some areas are also examined from the forage perspective due to advances that occurred in the plant area (agronomic) outside of the animal area. It is also noted that many ruminant nutrition studies that utilize forage as a fiber source have not taken advantage of the information coming out of the forage-animal interface area. As a consequence, forages are frequently viewed as a source of roughage and roughage is roughage. That concept has limited the value of many ruminant nutrition studies to the roughage (forage) source used in that experiment and has consequently rendered the results of many of the supplement/additive studies non transferable.

Technical Abstract: Pastures, forages and grasslands dominate the landscape across the United States and support a large ruminant population that supplies the nation with value-added animal products. An historical perspective is presented of the innovations as they occurred in the Journal of Animal Science over the past 100 yr in pasture and forage research. Consideration was given from both the animal and pasture perspective. Areas given consideration from the animal perspective were schemes for feedstuffs analysis, experimental design and statistics, forage sample preservation, indirect methods of measuring intake and digestion, TDN and energy, nutritive value, harvested forage and innovations in the grazing environment. Further, areas given consideration from the forage perspective were a frame-work for forage-animal interface research, determining pasture yield, choice of stocking method, grazing management, partitioning of forage dry matter, near infrared reflectance spectroscopy technology, antiquality constituents, and forage sample preservation. Finally, the importance was discussed of applying research results from the forage-animal interface to general ruminant nutrition research beyond the interface that is focused on altered diets.