Whole-farm evaluation of forage mixtures and grazing strategies

Atila Deak, Marvin H. Hall, Matt A. Sanderson, Clarence Alan Rotz, Michael Corson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Complex forage mixtures (mixtures of more than three species) have been researched as a means to increase yield and sustain forage production in pastures of the northeastern United States. However, little research has focused on the economic impact of forage mixture complexity and grazing strategy on a whole-farm scale. We used the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) to examine the short- (2-yr) and long-term (25-yr) performance and economic returns of four pasture mixtures (two, three, five, and seven species of grasses and legumes) and grass monocultures grazed according to plant morphology or canopy height criteria. For both 2- and 25-yr analyses, reduced pasture production in the morphology-based grazing strategy led to a decrease in net return compared to the height-based grazing strategy. Both analyses showed that the differences in net return were mainly due to seed, fertilizer, and feed costs, pasture production, and the income from excess forage sales. Production was more dependable for the height-based grazing strategy compared with the morphology-based strategy. Complex mixtures generated greater and more consistent net returns compared with either the simple mixtures or grass monoculture. More importantly, when comparing the difference in net return obtained by a particular forage treatment in dry and wet years, the net return using complex mixtures was reduced by only 25 to 27%. On the other hand, reductions in net return ranged from 36% for a three-species mixture to 55% for grass monoculture. For dairy pastures, complex mixtures are a useful alternative to reduce production variability in dry years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1201-1209
Number of pages9
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume102
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

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forage evaluation
grazing
farms
pastures
forage
grasses
Northeastern United States
plant morphology
forage production
economic impact
sales
dairies
income
legumes
fertilizers
canopy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

Deak, A., Hall, M. H., Sanderson, M. A., Rotz, C. A., & Corson, M. (2010). Whole-farm evaluation of forage mixtures and grazing strategies. Agronomy Journal, 102(4), 1201-1209. https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj2009.0504
Deak, Atila ; Hall, Marvin H. ; Sanderson, Matt A. ; Rotz, Clarence Alan ; Corson, Michael. / Whole-farm evaluation of forage mixtures and grazing strategies. In: Agronomy Journal. 2010 ; Vol. 102, No. 4. pp. 1201-1209.
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Deak, A, Hall, MH, Sanderson, MA, Rotz, CA & Corson, M 2010, 'Whole-farm evaluation of forage mixtures and grazing strategies', Agronomy Journal, vol. 102, no. 4, pp. 1201-1209. https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj2009.0504

Whole-farm evaluation of forage mixtures and grazing strategies. / Deak, Atila; Hall, Marvin H.; Sanderson, Matt A.; Rotz, Clarence Alan; Corson, Michael.

In: Agronomy Journal, Vol. 102, No. 4, 01.07.2010, p. 1201-1209.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Deak A, Hall MH, Sanderson MA, Rotz CA, Corson M. Whole-farm evaluation of forage mixtures and grazing strategies. Agronomy Journal. 2010 Jul 1;102(4):1201-1209. https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj2009.0504