- Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), peanuts
- Animal Production: grazing management
- Crop Production: fertilizers, no-till
Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.) is a long-lived perennial legume that has potential to associate with warm-season perennial grasses in SE USA. Rhizoma peanut establishment, however, is expensive. This has limited its use for grazing by the large beef cattle herd in the region. Because it can spread in bahiagrass and bermudagrass pastures and has been shown to live for more than 30 years, overcoming the barrier of establishment cost is critical to development of sustainable pasture systems that do not require N fertilizer. Thus, there is a current need to evaluate technologies that: i) reduce the cost of rhizoma peanut establishment; ii) minimize the period of time during establishment that land is taken out of the grazing program, and iii) result in low-input and sustainable grazing systems for beef cattle in the region. Developing on-farm technology that addresses these aspects will facilitate rhizoma peanut establishment by producers, accelerate technology transfer, and increase sustainability of grazing systems in SE USA. This multi-site, on-farm project will test two rhizoma peanut cultivars (Florigraze and Ecoturf) and two establishment methods (no-till and prepared soil). Four farms across Florida Peninsula and Florida Panhandle will be selected to perform the trials. Educational materials and outreach activities will be developed after data collection. At the end of this project we expect to have a recommendation to establish rhizoma peanut on bahiagrass pasture in a fast and cost-effective way.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project will contribute to agricultural sustainability by addressing a critical element of current grassland ecosystems which is the N limitation of grass monocultures. Because of increased N fertilizer prices, producers are limiting applying N. The result is increasing reports of grassland degradation and that may be due, at least in part, to N limitation. In addition, N fertilizers present a high carbon footprint due to fossil fuel use in the industrial process, transportation, and farm application (Lal et al., 2004). Finally, N fertilizer may also increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions such as N2O and NO (Bouwman et al., 2002) and increase the risk of nitrate leaching. Replacing N fertilizer by a perennial legume will not only reduce the need to apply N fertilizer on mixed grass-legume pastures but it will also minimize GHG emissions, reduce carbon footprint, and reduce the risks of groundwater contamination by nitrate leaching. Producers will also reduce off-farm inputs such as fossil fuels for N applications, acquisition of equipment, and N fertilizer. The combination of these economic and environmental factors suggest that successful establishment of RP on grasslands has a strong potential to increase sustainability of grazing systems in SE USA.