2014 Northeast Pasture Consortium Annual Meeting Northeast Pasture Research and Extension Consortium 2014 Annual Meeting, State College, PA, February 4-5, 2014

The Producer Session and Public Session that both looked at research needs were shortened to about a half hour. Each session had a recorder. The following are the Private (Stakeholder) sector views.

Private (Stakeholder) Sector Research Priorities

In order of priority, with statements in bold of specific items that need to be addressed. Any research project undertaken will include a cost analysis of implementation for farmers.

  1. Exploring and explaining the impacts of stream and stream-bank exclusion. This priority is an immediate need and is based on problems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, especially in Maryland. State regulations are coming out due to EPA’s regulations on total maximum daily loading of pollutants in streams and water bodies.
    • There is not a clear scientific-based answer as to the impacts of careful grazing management on streambanks and water quality. Therefore, the regulations are not based in science but in perception.
    • Research is needed (or existing research compiled and directed to the proper agencies) on the impacts of grazing riparian areas under different management regimes.
  2. More focus is needed on parasite issues for small ruminants, especially given climate change and possibly a longer grazing season.
    • Efficacy of botanical wormers? Are products on the market worth the money?
    • Effects of organic management and conventional co-grazing?
  3. How to improve land with low inputs (especially land with C+ slopes) and silvopasture. This is a primary concern, especially given losing moderate quality land to corn production and pushing marginal land into production for grazing.
  4. Evaluate and promote forage species, improved varieties and species combinations under grazing management and changing climatic and soil conditions with emphasis on extending the grazing season.
    • Research problems with orchardgrass persistence.
    • Specifically why is orchardgrass dying?
    • What is being done with this 2012 priority?
  5. Determine the management strategies and costs of transition or conversion
    from row crops, forestry and idle ground to productive and sustainable grazing lands and soils.
    • How do you start the soil biological community when transitioning from row crop, forests, and idle ground to grazing lands?
  6. Quantify the economics of whole-farm systems including the effects of breed selection, livestock diversification, and grazing management on animals and pasture health to promote safe, healthy, and secure local community food systems.
    • Summarize CLA and human nutritional benefits present in grass-fed products.
  7. Determine the environmental impacts and profitability of alternative supplemental feeding strategies for animals on high quality pastures.
    • What is the effect of stock density as it pertains to soil health and animal health?
    • How do you manage energy in a high quality pasture?
  8. Identify and address the limiting factors and marketing opportunities in dairy and livestock pasture-based production systems.
    • Produce summaries that are accessible to Extension Education, non-profits and health professionals.
  9. Explore new alternatives for transfer of knowledge and information to increase adoption of research findings with the agriculture community such as mentoring, case studies, and creative use of technology in promotional materials.
    • Produce summaries that are accessible to Extension Education, non-profits, and health professionals.

Public sector priorities followed a similar pattern of concerns. More time was spent on the issues of orchardgrass die-off and milk quality and fatty acid content as affected by dairy cow rations being fed, pastured cows (live forage) versus confinement fed cows (conserved forage). However, the impact of restricting grazing in riparian areas was the central issue at the outset of the public sector session. See Public Sector list of priorities in the Reports Session given by Mr. Tom Akin.