Journal of Animal Science

ASAS Centennial Paper: Future needs of research and extension in forage utilization

F. M. Rouquette, Jr. *, L. A. Redmon **, G. E. Aiken ***, G. M. Hill ยง, L. E. Sollenberger # and J. Andrae ||

Abstarc :

Forage-animal production agriculture is implementing infrastructurechanges and management strategies to adjust to increased energy-relatedcosts of fuel, feed grains, fertilizers, and seeds. The primaryobjectives of this position paper are to assess future researchand extension scientific needs in forage utilization, financialsupport for the discipline, and changing status and number ofscientists. A survey questionnaire returned from 25 land-grantuniversities in the eastern half of the United States ratedthe top 4 research needs as 1) pasture systems and efficiencyof production; 2) interfacing with energy concerns; 3) foragecultivar evaluations and persistence; and 4) environment impacts.Plant-animal future research needs at 11 USDA-ARS regional locationsare targeted at sustainable management and improved livestockperformance, ecophysiology and ecology of grasslands, environmentimpacts, and improved technologies for nutritive value assessments.Extension scientists from 17 southern and northeastern stateslisted the top 3 needs as forage persistence, soil fertilityand nutrient management, and pasture systems and efficiencyof production. Grant funds currently provide more than 40% ofland-grant university research and extension efforts in forageutilization, and scientists estimate that this support basewill increase to 55 to 60% of the funding total by 2013. Reducedallocation of state and federal funding has contributed to areduction in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) scientistsengaged in forage utilization research and extension activities.The current 25 state FTE conducting research number about 2.8per state. This includes 10 states with >3, 11 states with<2, and 3 states with <1 FTE. Increased interest in cellulosicenergy, climate change, and environmental impact may offer newopportunities for these FTE to participate in integrated cross-disciplineresearch Extension programming, and technology transfer methodswill change to accommodate reduced funding but with increasingnumbers of novice, recreation-oriented landowners.

Key Word :
Extension, forage, pasture, production, research, utilization

Volume 87, Number 1, January 2009