What is in this article?:
- Sustainable agriculture for the Southwest.
- The goal of sustainable agriculture is to develop new ideas and methods to improve farm and ranch profitability.
- Over the last 25 years, SARE has awarded nearly $200 million for more than 5,000 initiatives that have greatly improved agriculture across the nation and around the world.
SARE at work in Texas
In a SARE-funded project, researchers determined that cattle producers could save money without sacrificing livestock body condition by grazing cows on bermudagrass and ryegrass over winter instead of simply feeding them purchased hay.
Cooperative Extension researchers found grazing led to an average annual cost saving of $53 per cow during the four-year study, conducted on two ranches. Widespread adoption of this practice could have a massive impact on Texas agriculture because 63 percent of the state’s cattle are raised in eastern Texas, where bermudagrass is the dominant forage.
Researchers estimated that beef cattle producers in the state could save a combined $180 million by incorporating these grasses into winter grazing practices.
In the study, researchers allowed bermudagrass and ryegrass pastures to grow from late August to early December. They then introduced cattle for grazing until late February or early March. Forage growth through the fall was sufficient to give the cattle body condition scores similar to control groups that were fed hay, the traditional winter feeding approach.
Cooperative Extension agents have shared information from this study with more than 5,500 Texans at different educational events.
In all, Texas has received $4,107,519 to support 64 projects, including but not limited to, 23 research and/or education projects, four extension projects and 20 producer-led projects.
Other agriculture projects included but were not limited to:
- Improving Soil Quality to Increase Yield and Reduce Diseases in Organic Rice Production ($225,000)
- Improving Soil Quality to Increase Yield and Reduce Diseases in Organic Rice Production ($329,999)
- Integrated Crop and Livestock Systems for Enhanced Soil Carbon Sequestration and Microbial Diversity in the Semiarid Texas High Plains ($160,000)
- Crop-livestock Systems for Sustainable High Plains Agriculture ($200,000)
- Marketing of locally produced sustainable animal fiber products ($140,000)
- Pigeon pea: a multipurpose, drought resistant forage, grain and vegetable crop for sustainable southern farms ($200,000)
- Sustainable and profitable control of invasive species by small ruminants ($178,000)
- Expanding Marketing Opportunities for Organic Growers in Texas ($19,924)
- Forage/Livestock Systems for Sustainable High Plains Agriculture ($251,805)
- Systems for Sustainability of Alfalfa $149,750.00 Vincent Haby, Texas AES
- Production on Acid, Coastal Plain Soils ($149,750)
- Introducing Alternative Crops Into Traditional Cotton-Grain Farming to Aid Transition To "Freedom to Farm" Agriculture ($114,279)
- Sustainable Crop/Livestock Systems in the Texas High Plains ($222,125)
- Post-CRP Land Management and Sustainable Production Alternatives for Highly Erodible Land in the Southern Great Plains Farm Scale Evaluation of Alternative Cotton Production Systems ($196,100)
- Whole-farm Low/Reduced Input Farming Systems and Educational Program ($90,000)