- Animals: sheep
- Animal Production: grazing management
- Crop Production: pollination, pollinator habitat, pollinator health
Pollination is important for fertilization, setting fruits, seed development and continuation of life cycle of plants that eventually provides food for humans, livestock and wildlife. Agronomic practices, use of pesticides, lack of diverse flowering plant species, introduction of invasive plants, loss of habitat, climate change and disease have all led to the decline of important pollinators. Pollinators include native and honey bees, butterflies and other insects, of which native bees are the most efficient pollinators of food crops. An important way to encourage regeneration of native pollinators is to re-establish their preferred native plant species. Use of pollinators to maximize crop production is a proven agricultural practice but little is known about integration with livestock production. Field studies will be conducted at the USDA, ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farm Research Center where multiple plots have been planted with seed mixtures of all natives including floral and grass forages. Pollinators and beneficial arthropods will be sampled in each research plot to document pollinator-plant network with or without grazing by sheep. Additionally, pollinator abundance, diversity and species richness in plots with and without grazing will be determined. This study will aim to quantify benefits of native floral enhancement to a livestock pasture system, a unique approach which has not been examined.
Project objectives from proposal:
- To examine impacts of grazing native forb and grasses on insect pollinators and beneficial arthropod community in pasture system.
- To determine to impact of native floral enhancement on insect pollinators and beneficial arthropods in pasture ecosystems.