Pasture Research Needs for the Next 5 Years
Dr. Evert Byington, National Program Leader for Rangeland, Pasture, and Forages, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Ev briefed the Public and Private sectors who met concurrently, but separately. The Private Sector met in the Chairman’s Room while the Public Sector remained in the Grand Ballroom. Members were given a list of current pasture research project titles so they knew what was currently being researched. With this, they could tell what needed to be researched next.
The following are the public sector list of pasture research needs that could be addressed by ARS or by land grant universities:
- New, innovative fly control options for organic livestock farms
- Techniques of energy capture of methane generated from manure composting with resultant dry biomass for recycling back onto fields
- Reducing nitrogen loss on pastures
- Produce guidelines for developing markets of locally produced food by pooling farms and securing a meat processor
- Tall grazing versus short grazing – its economics as it pertains to both dairy and pasture-finished beef. Look at these aspects: animal nutrition, production differences (animal and plant), soil quality, and water quality
- Reclaiming pastureland that has been idled for sometime – research soil quality and monitor changes in species composition depending on technique used
- More water quality research on pasturelands, especially as it relates to their effectiveness as grass buffers along riparian areas (assumed to be of no benefit now – an ungrazed or little grazed buffer must be between stream and the base pasture). Look at grass density and height variables on filtering effectiveness. Stream corridor rotational paddocks residual height and rest (recovery) period variables on filtering effectiveness and direct contamination to streams.
- Track seasonal growth curves of different forage species and mixed species swards to provide updated seasonal growth curves for pasture management planning. Climate change may have significantly changed seasonal growth curves from those constructed early in the last century.
- Study reasons for current phosphorus recommendations on pastures, currently pastures are being over-fertilized with phosphorus
- Brown Marmorated Stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) impacts on forage grasses and legumes
The Private sector pasture research needs were reported later during the Reports Session on February 2nd, but are placed here for continuity and completeness of these two concurrent breakout sessions.
- Need economic evaluation (cost versus benefit or return on investment) of pasture practices, such as renovation (versus existing stands), planned grazing systems, and watering facilities
- Water quality impacts of pastures, upland and riparian area pastures
- Research food safety and milk components of both raw and pasteurized milk
- Climate change effects on pasture growth and seasonal distribution
- Grain by-products, such as distillers grains, for use as pasture supplements
- Cooked versus raw meat component changes, study health beneficial ones, such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Means to avoid losses of beneficial components?
- Best management practices effectiveness on each of their stated application purposes
- Invasive species identification and control on pastures
- Socio-economic benefits of pasture-based systems