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Research Project: Use of Animal Genetics and Diversified Forage Systems to Improve Efficiency and Sustainability of Livestock Production Systems in the Southern Great Plains

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Title: Increased availability of livestock products through forage systems research

item Neel, James
item BELESKY, DAVID - West Virginia University

Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/3/2018
Publication Date: 7/8/2018
Citation: Neel, J.P., Belesky, D.P. 2018. Increased availability of livestock products through forage systems research. American Society of Animal Science Annual Meeting. Available at:

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only

Technical Abstract: In 2014 the Joint Annual Meeting theme was: “Linking animal science and animal agriculture: Meeting the global demands of 2050”. This theme was selected based on a 2009 U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FOA) “State of Food & Agriculture” report which indicated worldwide meat output must double by the year 2050 to meet the increasing desire for meat protein. It is well documented that consumption of food products derived from ruminants improves the health and wellbeing of individuals in populations having abundant access to them for their diets. It is also well established that the benefits are magnified when consumption begins early in life. Meeting this demand is therefore critical to improving the welfare of millions of people throughout the world. Livestock have always played a key role in the production of a sustainable supply of high quality food and fiber. This role originated due to their unique ability to convert feedstuffs containing essentially zero food value, into a high biological value protein and essential fatty acid source for humans. Forage based livestock systems will play an essential role in meeting the anticipated 2050 livestock based food demand, and increased production will necessarily be dependent on improvement of production efficiency and output from marginal lands. Forage livestock systems on marginal lands are especially challenging when it comes to improving nutrient use efficiency. The understanding of system nutrient movements both pre- and post-ingestion, synchronization nutrient availability with plant and grazer needs, the development of approaches to improve system nutrient holding capacity, and the maintenance of animal and human health are all essential for environmental integrity, and improved productivity. Meeting the 2050 challenge in a responsible manner can be achieved by multidiscipline research teams, with members willing to merge their intellectual expertise with other team members in pursuit of a common goal.