Does a C3-C4 forage mix simultaneously improve forage production and carbon sequestration?

2008 Annual Report for GNC07-077

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2007: $9,911.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Randall Jackson
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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.

Objectives/Performance Targets

I am seeking to improve understanding of ecosystem support, provisioning, and regulating services provided by pasture ecosystems in the Upper Midwest.

This work intends 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 second year’s field data collection successfully ended in November 2008. During the year, we presented two posters at national meetings divulgating the work and results of the project. One of the posters (ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AS A FRAMEWORK FOR AGROECOLOGICAL RESEARCH) was made as a collaborative work amongst all members of the Grassland Ecology Jackson Lab and presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in August 3-8, 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The poster was written and created by our team members: Lawrence G. Oates, Emma L. Bouressa, David S. Duncan, Ellen E. Hamingson, Julie E. Woodis (Doll), Susan K. Chamberlain, Andrew R. Jakubowski, Randall D. Jackson and I.

The other poster (TRADE-OFFS IN PASTURE PRODUCTION WITH INCREASING C4 GRASS ABUNDANCE) was written by Julie Doll and I and presented first at the Wisconsin Ecology Group at the Fall Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin and later at the Farming with Grass meeting sponsored by The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) in October 20-22, 2008, Oklahoma city, Oklahoma. The conference intended to address the factors driving change in mixed agricultural systems and was well attended by farmers, researchers and professionals.

The Agroecology MS thesis is being prepared and the defense will occur in August 2009.

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.


Randall D. Jackson
Major Professor
Department of Agronomy
1575 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706
Office Phone: 6082611480