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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #385118

Research Project: Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the Northern Great Plains

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Potential benefits of tanniferous forages in integrative crop-livestock agroecosystems

item Clemensen, Andrea
item Halvorson, Jonathan
item Christensen, Rachael
item Kronberg, Scott

Submitted to: Frontiers in Agronomy
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2022
Publication Date: 7/22/2022
Citation: Clemensen, A.K., Halvorson, J.J., Christensen, R., Kronberg, S.L. 2022. Potential benefits of tanniferous forages in integrative crop-livestock agroecosystems. Frontiers in Agronomy. 4.

Interpretive Summary: Tannins are produced by plants and can potentially benefit agriculture and the environment. However, only recently have there been attempts to address their benefits to soil, crops, and animals. In this brief review, we discuss the roles that tannins have in soil, plants, and animals. The review is useful to researchers and producers in understanding how integrating plants that contain tannins into crop-livestock systems may make agriculture more sustainable.

Technical Abstract: Integrating livestock into cropping systems may enhance ecosystem services while still providing efficient food production. Including tanniferous forages in crop-livestock systems could further enhance ecosystem services. Interest in phytochemicals, such as tannins, has increased over the past several decades, and research continues to reveal the potential benefits of tannins in agricultural systems. However, research evaluating the influence of tanniferous forages in integrative crop-livestock systems is limited. We discuss how tannins influence soil microbial dynamics and nutrient cycling, the function of tannins in forages, and the role tannins have in improving the health of foraging animals. We speculate on potential advantages for human health from consumption of animal-based foods from animals that consumed tanniferous forages or supplemental plant materials. Expanding our knowledge of phytochemicals and their influence in agriculture system dynamics may be an effective tool to enhance agroecological sustainability.