Sustainable Forage and Livestock System for the Island of Tinian

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Western
State: Northern Mariana Islands
Principal Investigator:


  • Agronomic: peanuts, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: citrus
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats


  • Animal Production: housing, feed formulation, feed rations, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, range improvement, grazing - rotational, feed/forage
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
  • Pest Management: chemical control, cultural control, precision herbicide use
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    The increased human population in the CNMI requires that research in feed production and utilization must be intensified to ensure an adequate supply of food of animal origin. Island ruminant producers currently graze their animals on poor and undeveloped pastures and for producers without pasturelands, gather feed daily in a “cut and carry” system that requires driving 5 to 10 miles a day, which increases production costs and reduces efficiency. They are often discouraged by the low productivity of herds raised on poor quality pasture, resulting in overgrazing, invasive weeds, soil erosion and water contamination.

    Correcting these inefficiencies, and improving island self-sufficiency, this project researched ways to demonstrate sustainable forage production and improved management systems for animal production through improved pasture-based rations and creation of portable chicken tractors.

    Project objectives:

    The overall objective is to develop environmentally sustainable and economically feasible forage-livestock systems that will assure the viability of agricultural activities in the Pacific islands while protecting its natural resources and putting this knowledge into practice. The specific objectives are:

    1. Conduct forage evaluation and demonstration trials that incorporate adaptable forage grass and legume species into a pasture improvement management plan for ruminant and poultry producers
    2. Raise the level of technical knowledge and management skills for beef producers and provide agricultural professionals with information on pasture and cattle management
    3. Develop a goat industry as an additional source of income for small farmers and provide options for improved goat production
    4. Develop awareness of using legumes to enhance soil fertility and encourage manure disposal on pastures
    5. Explore methods for improving pasture and extending the grazing season in ways that are economical and efficient

    v Conduct workshops with the assistance of USDA NRCS specialist among farmers about grazing management techniques and agronomy

    v Hold a pasture demonstration on the Island of Tinian to display sustainable forages and pasture grazing techniques

    v Demonstrate at least two designs for portable chicken tractors showcasing affordability and efficiency

    v Conduct farm/field tours with USDA-NRCS personnel and other agricultural professionals and agricultural producers about pasture management

    v Develop a training event, extension materials, and information to be posted in the CREES web site

    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.