ARS researchers in Temple, TX, employed adaptive nutrient management to determine preferred balances on farms.
Take Your Alfalfa Out to Pasture
Beef producers in the western United States have been searching for alternatives to nitrogen-rich fertilizers while also placing an increased emphasis on environmental stewardship. One possible answer to both concerns is to integrate alfalfa and other legumes into their high-productivity, irrigated pastures.
ARS researchers in Logan, UT, measured herbage mass, nutritive value, steer growth performance, and economics of tall fescue pastures mixed with alfalfa or birdsfoot trefoil compared to fescue-only pastures with nitrogen fertilizer. The grass-legume mixed pastures had slightly less herbage, but nutrition and steer growth performance improved compared to fertilized grass pastures. Without the added cost of fertilizer, economic returns for the grass-legume pastures were 2.4 (trefoil) and 1.7 (alfalfa) times greater than the fertilized grass pastures. In addition, grass-legume mixtures can help reduce dependence on petroleum-based commercial fertilizer.
Explore Other Discoveries
Adaptive Nutrient Management
Carbon Mapping on the Go
ARS researchers have developed a unique mobile system that assesses and maps out soil carbon to a depth of 30 centimeters (the plow layer) – all in real time.
Developing Biofuel Opportunities
ARS scientists are investigating ways to ensure agriculture can produce renewable fuels that will help diminish our carbon footprint.
Elephant Grass as Bio-Feedstock
Scientists conducted research on how farm management practices could maximize elephant grass’s utility as a bioethanol feedstock.
New Standards for Analyzing Soil Health
A new protocol addresses sources of variability and uncertainty in measuring microbial community composition and its connection with agricultural management and changing climate.
To Save More Water, Plant Corn Later
A team of researchers and their partners have found another way to conserve water: late planted corn.
Wrangling for Resiliency
ARS researchers and the USDA Southwest Climate Hub developed a new set of tools aiming at helping farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders plan for serious environmental challenges.