Strategies for Increasing Rhizoma Peanut Contribution to Productivity and Ecosystem Services of Low-Input Pasture Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2011: $9,978.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Grant Recipient: Auburn University
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Kim Mullenix
Auburn University/Alabama Cooperative Ex

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay, rye
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing management, grazing - rotational, pasture renovation, pasture fertility, winter forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops, nutrient cycling
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Beef cattle production in the USA Gulf Coast is based on nitrogen-fertilized grass pastures, but increasing nitrogen cost threatens future viability of this production system. Rhizoma peanut (RP; Arachis glabrata) is a regionally adapted perennial legume with documented long-term persistence and ability to spread in grass pastures. To date, RP has been used primarily for high value hay production because establishment costs are high. Expansion to grazed pasture is desired, but lower-cost establishment methods are needed. This research is part of a larger effort with the goal of providing technologies leading to sustainable grass-RP pastures with no requirement for nitrogen fertilizer. Specific project objectives are to: 1) determine if strip planting RP into grass pastures is a viable alternative to current practice; 2) quantify rate of establishment, spread, and grazing tolerance of RP cultivars within the context of strip planting; and 3) measure soil quality benefits of conversion to RP-based vs. traditional grass systems. Four RP cultivars of varying growth habit will be strip-planted in bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) to identify those best-suited for this use. Establishing and established RP cultivars also will be grazed using different management strategies to determine practices that favor RP spread and competitiveness. Lastly, RP will be used as the base forage in various production systems to determine its effect on soil quality compared with a grass-nitrogen system. It is anticipated that the results will provide specific and practical alternatives to nitrogen fertilizer for low-input livestock production in the Gulf Coast Region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The following are the objectives for the proposed experiments:

    1. To quantify the effects of growth habit of rhizoma peanut (RP) and defoliation management during the establishment year on ground cover and rate of spread of RP cultivars following strip planting into bahiagrass pasture
    2. To measure the effect of grazing intensity and frequency on forage accumulation, persistence, and nutritive value of four RP cultivars differing in plant growth habit
    3. To quantify the effect on soil organic carbon and nitrogen accumulation of forage systems based on RP or nitrogen-fertilized bermudagrass

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.