Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Grazing of cattle pastures can improve soil quality

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Scientists have given growers in the Piedmont guidance on how to restore degraded soils and make the land productive. Researchers found that if cattle are managed so that they graze moderately, soil quality can be restored and emissions of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) can be reduced.

Growing tall fescue and allowing moderate grazing by cattle can help restore quality to soil degraded by decades of plowing, according to new ARS research.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Alan Franzluebbers, ARS.

A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists has given growers in the Piedmont guidance on how to restore degraded soils and make the land productive. Researchers with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) found that if cattle are managed so that they graze moderately, soil quality can be restored and emissions of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) can be reduced.

Related Articles


The research was recently published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Cotton, soybean, sorghum and wheat are widely grown in the Piedmont, an area which stretches from Alabama to Virginia. But decades of plowing have degraded the soil and growers have slowly allowed much of the land to revert to forests and pastures, according to Alan Franzluebbers, an ecologist at the ARS J. Phil Campbell Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center in Watkinsville, Ga.

Franzluebbers led a project where grasses were planted on rolling, eroded land in northeastern Georgia and pastures were grazed by beef cattle to assess grazing effects on soil quality. Coastal bermudagrass was planted initially. After five years, tall fescue was drilled into the bermudagrass to extend the grazing season from five months to 10 months of the year. The research team included retired ARS scientists John Stuedemann and Stan Wilkinson.

The researchers varied the number of cattle per acre and assessed how the soils responded to different grazing scenarios. Under each scenario, they looked at the amount of soil compaction that occurred, the amounts of organic carbon and nitrogen in the soil, and the amounts of surface plant residues, which help prevent erosion. They also looked at how the soil responded to three different fertilizer treatments (inorganic, mixed inorganic and organic broiler litter, and organic broiler litter).

From an environmental standpoint, grasslands have traditionally been viewed as best managed by leaving the land unused. But the team found that while fertilizer type made little difference, different grazing scenarios produced different effects, and the grazed land produced more grass than the ungrazed land and had the greatest amount of carbon and nitrogen sequestered in soil. Sequestering carbon and nitrogen in soil has become a major goal for agriculture, because that sequestration reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Dennis O'Brien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Grazing of cattle pastures can improve soil quality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111626.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, March 3). Grazing of cattle pastures can improve soil quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111626.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Grazing of cattle pastures can improve soil quality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111626.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

RightThisMinute (Feb. 25, 2015) This wounded fox knew what she was doing when she wandered into the yard of a nature photographer. The photographer got "Scamp" immediately in the hands of Wildlife Aid and she was released back into the wild in no time. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins