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Objective 1. Management systems for improved growth, handling and storage of harvested biomass for optimized quality and utilization for improved livestock management and positive environmental benefits. Sub-objective 1A. Forage and biomass production systems that better utilize nutrients to increase productivity and/or reduce energy and nutrient input requirements. Sub-objective 1B. Biomass harvest and storage systems that enhance the value of the feedstock for livestock production. Sub-objective 1C. Efficient strategies for producing livestock on forage-based diets, targeting optimal productivity. Sub-objective 1C1. Identification and selection of animal phenotypes that are productive and thrive on low-input pasture systems to minimize management inputs. Sub-objective 1C2. Understanding grazing behavior and spatial distribution of sheep naturally infected with gastrointestinal nematodes. Objective 2: Develop integrated tools to foster improved management of pasture and forages which maintain productivity while providing economic and environmental benefits. Sub-objective 2A. Measuring and monitoring system status and function at various scales. Sub-objective 2A1. Develop tools to identify environmental factors affecting forage production to maximize productivity and environmental/ecosystem benefits in diverse environments. Sub-objective 2A2. Utilize spatial information to develop site specific recommendations for warm season forage species, nutrient requirements and economic inputs for improved farm management. Sub-objective 2B. Provide tools that support management decisions and aid implementation. Sub-objective 2B1. Determine site specific recommendations coupling soil water availability with nutrient requirements to optimize forage production for economic sustainability. Sub-objective 2B2. Farm-scale recommendations that provides a decision support tools for producers that will allow optimization of farm management for whole farm productivity, economic viability and environmental sustainability. Sub-objective 2C. Pasture-based livestock management practices that improve resilience to climate change, conserve soil or protect water quality, optimizing production, conservation and environmental goals. Sub-objective 2D. Targeted grazing strategies to reduce invasive grasses and forbs and promote desirable perennial grasses and woody species. Sub-objective 2E. Grazing management strategies for maintenance of a diverse native plant pasture that serves livestock and wildlife including native pollinators. Sub-objective 2E1. Impact of grazing on insect pollinators and beneficial arthropod community in pasture ecosystems designed for multiple use of livestock grazing and pollinator habitat. Sub-objective 2E2. Impact of native forbs and grasses on insect pollinators and beneficial arthropods and plant- pollinator interactions in pasture ecosystems designed for multiple use of livestock grazing and pollinator habitat.

Owens P R; Franco Jr J G; Burke, Joan
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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