Integrated Residue Management Systems for Sustained Seed Yield of Kentucky Bluegrass Without Burning

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $294,243.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $31,040.00
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Donald Thill
University of Idaho

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial)


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: biological inoculants, fallow, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers, tissue analysis
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, risk management
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, cultural control, flame, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, social psychological indicators


    Post-harvest grazing can remove 80%, or as much residue as burning, when the stocking density and grazing duration are adequate. Seed yield in post-harvest graze treatments were comparable to those in the full-load burn treatment, indicating post-harvest grazing is a potential non-thermal alternative for managing Kentucky bluegrass residue and sustaining seed production. About 43% fewer cattle are required with the bale-then-graze treatment compared to the full-load graze treatment. Switching to baling as a method of residue removal will require most farmers to purchase a baler and stacking equipment or have the residue custom harvested. A producer would need to harvest over 1,800 A before it would be profitable to purchase haying equipment versus having it custom harvested.

    Project objectives:

    Develop livestock grazing systems and/or use of emerging biotechnology alternatives that optimize biomass turnover and maintain or increase bluegrass seed yield without burning.

    Compare nutrient cycling efficiency in burned, mechanically managed and grazed bluegrass systems.

    Investigate above ground insect pest and predator relationships in each bluegrass production system. Monitor diseases and weeds associated with the different treatments.

    Examine the economic efficiency of each bluegrass production system including the associated production, price, and financial risk.

    Identify potential key socio-cultural and economic costs and benefits of livestock grazing management practices or biotechnology alternatives versus current open-burning practices.

    Disseminate information to growers, field consultants, extension educators, and scientific audiences.

    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.