Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/7/2008
Publication Date: 4/8/2009
Citation: Rouquette, F.M., Redmon, L.A., Aiken, G.E., Hill, G.M., Sollenberger, L.E., Andrae, J. 2009. ASAS centennial paper: future needs of research and extension in forage utilization. Journal of Animal Science. 87:438-446. Interpretive Summary: Research, extension, and education activities associ¬ated with forage utilization imply efforts directed at the forage-animal interface. This interface terminology has been used by scientists to describe component relation¬ships and interactions between forages and the grazing animal. This common boundary or interface includes physiological, morphological, and chemical characteristics of forages in response to de¬foliation, performance, treading, and other behavioralaspects of the grazing animal. Thus, as a function of assessing individual and combined components of plants and animals, scientists representing 2 or more disciplines within a university or with other research institutions are collaborating to meet common objectives. A research structure of fund¬ing, direction, and accountability must overlay disci¬plinary_"boundary lines'_and bring together scientists with a common goal and vision. A position paper was prepared that surveyed land-grant university and USDA regional center scien¬tists to assess future research and extension scientific needs in forage utilization, financial support for the dis¬cipline, changing status and number of scientists, and to assess the opportunities and obstacles for future re¬search and education activities.
Technical Abstract: Forage-animal production agriculture is implementing infrastructure changes and management strategies to adjust to increased energy-related costs of fuel, feed grains, fertilizers, and seeds. The primary objectives of this position paper are to assess future research and extension scientific needs in forage utiliza¬tion, financial support for the discipline, and changing status and number of scientists. A survey questionnaire returned from 25 land-grant universities in the eastern half of the United States rated the top 4 research needs as 1) pasture systems and efficiency of production; 2) interfacing with energy concerns; 3) forage cultivar eval¬uations and persistence; and 4) environment impacts. Plant-animal future research needs at 11 USDA-ARS regional locations are targeted at sustainable manage¬ment and improved livestock performance, ecophysiolo¬gy and ecology of grasslands, environment impacts, and improved technologies for nutritive value assessments. Extension scientists from 17 southern and northeastern states listed the top 3 needs as forage persistence, soil fertility and nutrient management, and pasture systems and efficiency of production. Grant funds currently pro¬vide more than 40% of land-grant university research and extension efforts in forage utilization, and scien¬tists estimate that this support base will increase to 55 to 60% of the funding total by 2013•. Reduced alloca¬tion of state and federal funding has contributed to a reduction in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) scientists engaged in forage utilization research and ex¬tension activities. The current 25 state FTE conducting research number about 2.8 per state. This includes 10 states with >3, 11 states with <2, and 3 states with <1 FTE. Increased interest in cellulosic energy, climate 'change, and environmental impact may offer new op¬portunities for these FTE to participate in integrated cross-discipline research Extension programming, and technology transfer methods will change to accommo¬date reduced funding but with increasing numbers of novice, recreation-oriented landowners.