To develop a knowledge base and guidelines for sustainable grazing-based livestock production systems which are based on a near-continuous supply of diverse, high-quality forages and to integrate forages into sustainable biomass and multi-purpose crop production systems.
Between 6 and 9 million stocker calves pass through the southern Great Plains annually.
Wheat-based stocker calf production is a very large proportion of that production.There are million acres of wheat in OK alone.50 to 80% of those Oklahoma acres is grazed by 2 million stocker calves annually, with an economic value approaching $1 billion.
Why Not Wheat?
There are forage gaps; when producers must feed hay and supplements for 4 or 5 months of the year.
Its an annual crop requiring high inputs.
Wheat protein is poorly utilized, with high N content and low N metabolism.
Wheat is high in nitrates.
Specific approaches to our research are:
Learn to manage these new forages, especially in terms of grazing (timing, duration, and intensity) and fertility (N).
Document their value: livestock performance.
Identify or develop perennial cool-season grasses and legumes which are well adapted, persistent, productive, palatable, and nutritious, to replace or supplement wheat.