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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308828


Location: Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research

Title: Sustainable agriculture for a dynamic world: Forage-Crop-Livestock systems research

item Steiner, Jean

Submitted to: Miscellaneous Publishing Information Bulletin
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2014
Publication Date: 10/29/2014
Citation: Steiner, J.L. 2014. Sustainable agriculture for a dynamic world: Forage-Crop-Livestock systems research. Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference and Research Symposium. October 22-23, 2014. Norman, Oklahoma. Avaliable:

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.

Technical Abstract: Research at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Grazinglands Research Laboratory is focused on development and delivery of improved technologies, strategies, and planning tools for integrated crop-forage-livestock systems under variable climate, energy, and market conditions. The GRL research program is organized in two units, Forage and Livestock Production (FLP) and Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources (GPANR). The FLP research goals include development of water and nutrient efficient forage grasses that are resilient to drought and climate extremes, and development and evaluation of forage systems that provide near year-round forage for beef cattle grazing and that are persistent in the face of climate extremes. The animal research program identifies animal types or breeds that are efficient in the use of nutrients from forage-based diets and that are resilient to climate extremes. The GPANRU team conducts long-term watershed research, in collaboration with a number of state and federal partners, to quantify impacts of agriculture on surface and subsurface water resources and also climate impacts on agricultural productivity and resilience. Additionally, assessments of climate variability at multiple scales, based on historic as well as projected climate are made to evaluate the sustainability of agricultural production and conservation practices and systems. The research program has a strong modeling component that allows assessment of economic and environmental risks to alternative management scenarios to various climate and other drivers. In 2012, GRL was selected as the Southern Plains site of the Long Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network, conducting coordinated research with 18 other LTAR sites across the continental US. Under this program, we are developing intensively instrumented fields that are representative of regional agricultural systems (native prairie, cool and warm season perennial pasture, and cropping systems) where we will develop improved understanding of key carbon, nitrogen, water, and energy process. The sites include collaborative integrated grassland and cropland observation sites (iGOS and iCOS) that are operated in conjunction with the University of Oklahoma. In 2013, a regional consortium was awarded a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to establish the Grazing Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP). The Grazing CAP is a 5-year research and Extension project conducted by Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, Tarleton State University, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and ARS locations at Bushland, Texas and El Reno, Oklahoma. The objective of the Grazing CAP is to better understand vulnerability and enhance resilience of beef-grazing systems in a world of increased climate variability, dynamic land-use, and fluctuating markets and to safeguard and promote regional beef production on a diverse forage base while mitigating its environmental footprint. Long-term research at GRL is integral to the Grazing CAP research. In 2014, GRL was selected as the host institution for USDA’s Southern Plains Climate Hub. The evolving Climate Hub partnership will broaden our focus to include the diversity of agriculture and forestry systems in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Our intent is to facilitate access to information and tools to help agricultural land managers increase the resilience of their systems to variable and changing climate. The Climate Hub will work through a diverse federal, state, university, and private sector partnership to deliver science-based knowledge and practical information to Southern Plains farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.