Forage and Grassland Management

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Current Projects:

  • Tree-species impact on forage and microclimate of silvopasture systems.
  • Microbial population dynamics in silage.
  • Establishment, nitrogen fertilization, and harvest management effects on sorghum as a forage and bioenergy crop.
  • Defoliation management effects on alfalfa and alfalfa-grass (+ tall fescue or orchardgrass) mixtures.
  • Defoliation management effects on switchgrass as forage and bioenergy crop.

Completed Projects:

  • Establishment and defoliation management of a warm-season legume into warm-season grass pasture
    We proposed strip-planting as an alternative to establish rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) into existing bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) pastures with the ultimate goal of achieving a grass-legume mixture. Including legumes in warm-season forage-livestock systems has the potential to increase the nutritive value of the forage offered to livestock and to increase Nitrogen cycling in the system. Control of plant competition (cultural, chemical, and mechanical) and defoliation management (clipping vs. grazing) were more critical factors than seedbed preparation for successful establishment and spread (~30 cm per year) of rhizoma peanut. In addition, if grazing does occur during the first 2 years of planting, grazing management targets for the endpoint of grazing should focus on the strip component of the pasture planted to rhizoma peanut as opposed to the bahiagrass component of the pasture.

Collaborators: L.E. Sollenberger, J.A. Ferrel, A.R. Blount, M.J. Williams, C.L Mackowiak, M.K. Mullenix.

Publications: Crop Sci. 53:724-731; Crop Sci. 53:2255-2263; Crop Sci. 54:1868-1875; Crop Sci. 55:2384-2389

  • Municipal biosolids an alternative source of nutrients for the production of forages as bioenergy crops

Forages, as all other plants,  require nutrients to grow. The potential to utilize forage plants as bioenergy crops (referred to as lignocellulosic feedstock) and produce greater amounts of biomass provides incentive to look for altenative, local sources of fertilizers. Municipal biosolids, a by-product of waste-water treatment plants, have the potential to provide nutrients for biomass production.  Environmental conditions (temperature and rainfall) and method of application (surface application and incorporation) influence the total amount and the rate of nitrogen available for plant growth.

Collaborators: L.E. Sollenberger, J.M.B. Vendramini, K.R. Woodard, G.A. O'Connor, M.L. Silveira, J.B. Sartain.

Publications: Agron. J. 102:1308-1313; Agron. J. 102:1314-1320; Agron. J. 103.899-905

  • Land management effects on phosphors pools in Histosols.

Long-term land management affected the distribution of Phosphorus in soil chemical fractions. Soils under intensive cultivation had a lower proportion (52%) of Phosphorus in the organic fraction compared to non-cultivated (78%). In addition, intensive tillage regime promoted the redistribution of Calcium from subsurface to surface soil, which leads to greater Phosphours sequestration in the Calcium-bound fraction.

Collaborators: A.L. Wright

Publications: Geoderma. 145:130-135; World J. Agric. Sci. 4:314-320




  • Producción y composición de los cultivares Mulato I y II de Brachiaria híbridos inoculados con Micorriza y Trichoderma harzianum.

Los cultivares Mulato I y II desarrollados por el Centro de Agricultural Tropical (CIAT), fueron evaluados en Honduras, C.A. La produccioón de materia seca fue similar entre cultivares y tratamientos (9.6 Mg ha-1 yr-1). Adicionalmente, digestibilidad de materia seca, fibra neutro- y ácido detergentes fueron similares (60.3%, 50.5, y 29.2%, respectivamente). La concentración de proteína cruda fue mayor en Mulato II (15.2%) comparada con Mulato I (12.6%).

Collaboradores: M. Velez, J.C. Rosas, R. Trabanino

Publicaciones: Ceiba. 47:25-32


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