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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Benefits of Perennial Forages for Soils, Crops, and Water Quality

item Jokela, William
item Russelle, Michael

Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/8/2010
Publication Date: 3/1/2010
Publication URL:
Citation: Jokela, W.E., Russelle, M.P. 2010. Benefits of Perennial Forages for Soils, Crops, and Water Quality. Progressive Forage Grower. March. p. 5-7.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Alfalfa is the most widely grown perennial forage species in the US, with the greatest acreage in the upper Midwest and Western states. But alfalfa acreage has been declining steadily for the past 50 years, while the acreage of soybeans and, more recently, corn has been increasing. There are costs associated with the displacement of perennial forage acreage. As we enter a period with heightened public scrutiny of agriculture’s environmental ‘footprint’ (water and air quality, greenhouse gas production, and energy use), farmers need to consider the total value of adding perennial forages to their crop rotations. This article covers: a) the direct benefits of perennial forages used in rotation or as a cover crop; and b) the more far-reaching benefits of perennial forages in terms of improved soil and water quality.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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