Does a C3-C4 forage mix simultaneously improve forage production and carbon sequestration?
Collaborating with one grass-based rancher and the Wisconsin Cropping Systems Trial, I am evaluating forage quantity and quality as well as C sequestration potential under a gradient of C3 to C4 grass ratios.
I am seeking to improve understanding of ecosystem support, provisioning, and regulating services provided by pasture ecosystems in the Upper Midwest. This work intend to provide much needed understanding about C3 pastures and the benefits of re-storing native grasses to working lands. Products include peer-reviewed publications, an Agroecology MS thesis, and presentations at field-days, conferences, and to interested conservation-research groups.
The first year’s field data collection successfully ended in October 2007. Since then some of the results were presented at two winter field days, one in Lancaster Research Station and another at the WICST annual meeting, both well attended by farmers, researchers and professionals.
At the Lancaster meeting two other SARE granted students and I talked about the “Tradeoffs in ecosystem services provided by warm-season grasses in pastures” while at the WICST meeting I talked about “How do ecosystem support services vary along a C3:C4 grass gradient?” In addition, abstracts were sent to two coming conferences.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
As a long-term outcome, the results of this project should promote land stewardship by blending management for livestock production with conservation techniques. Once the environmental and agronomic benefits of incorporating native, C4 grasses into C3-dominated pastures are better understood and documented, farmers will be more likely to adopt such practices.
Department of Agronomy
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Madison, WI 53706
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