Forages, which includes both native (157 million acres rangeland) and introduced (111 million acres) plants that provide nutrients for domestic animals and wildlife, contributes to resource conservation and sustainability of land areas in Texas. Forages provide about 70% of the nutrients consumed during the lifetime of livestock, and are the foundation on which the Texas livestock industry is built. Forages are the only “crop” found in each of Texas’ 254 counties. Currently, cash receipts are more than $10 billion for livestock with about $ 8.5 billion attributed to beef cattle. In addition, forages contribute more than $700 million as hay and they are a major component of the $ 8.9 billion economic impact for wildlife resource. Forages also enhance water quality, serve as sites for the disposal of agricultural and municipal wastes, are renewable sources of energy, provide food and habitat for wildlife, and are used to revegetate disturbed lands and public right-of-ways.
Forage species in Texas are as diverse as the soils and climates found across the state. Research is conducted at Beeville, College Station, , Overton, Stephenville, Vernon, and Uvalde to address persistence, sustainability, and production in various ecosystems. The Texas A&M AgriLife Research forage research team includes expertise in plant genetics and breeding, forage physiology-management, soil-plant interactions, and forage-animal interface . Additionally, forage specialists with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service conduct numerous demonstrations across the state to evaluate new forages and management practices at the producer level. The current Forage faculty in research and extension emphases basic and translational impact on soil-plant stewardship, forage utilization strategies, animal production, and economic growth for Texas producers as components of the overall Mission of the Department and Agencies.
- Vanessa A. Corriher-Olson, Associate Professor, Extension Forage Specialist, Overton, TX
- Jamie Foster, Associate Professor, forage management, Beeville, TX
- Russ Jessup, Associate Professor, perennial grass breeder, College Station, TX
- Dariusz Malinowski, Professor, forage physiology, Vernon, TX
- Jake Mowrer, Soil Chemistry & Fertility, College Station, TX
- Jim Muir, Regents Professor, forage physiology, Stephenville, TX
- Larry Redmon, Professor and Associate Department Head & Extension Program Leader, College Station, TX
- Monte Rouquette, Professor, forage quality and utilization, Overton, TX
- Gerald Smith, Professor, legume breeder, Overton, TX
- Develop pasture-forage-cropping systems for water quality enhancement, site restoration, plant and animal production, conservation, and erosion control and bioenergy.
- Develop forage cultivars for enhanced persistence and nutritive value via germplasm evaluations and plant breeding methods.
- Develop environmentally compatible and ecologically sound nutrient management systems for animal waste disposal and fertilizer applications.
- Obligatory summer-dormant cool-season perennial grasses; Assess persistence of cool-season perennial forages to complement dual-use wheat pastures.
- Forage Legume Beeding and Genetics: Develop new cultivars with improved persistence, pest resistance, and enhanced forage production.
- Develop forage legumes to enhance the quality of forage available for llivestock and wildlife in the dryer regions of Texas. These legumes include winter annuals such as annual medics, clovers and vetches. Some of these legumes also provide good seed sources for game birds.
- Assess fertility and irrigation managment of summer perennial and winter annual pastures.
- Quantify soil-forage-animal effects on bermudagrass pastures and nutrient cycling under long-term stocking.
- Access forage nutritive paramenters, sustainability, and dry matter production under various stocking utilization stategies.
- Forage Rye Breeding: Develop new cultivars with improved adaptation to acid soils, pest resistance, winter forage production.
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