Pasture

Pasturelands cover 121.1 million acres (6% of the U.S. surface area), predominantly in the eastern half of the U.S.  While mostly used for livestock grazing and hay production, pastures also offer other ecosystem services, enhance environmental quality and provide scenic landscapes. Currently, most pastures are minimally managed and could benefit from improvements in stocking rates, grazing methods, seasonal use and fertilization. Optimizing pasture health and productivity today will build resilience to a changing climate. Factors affecting pasturelands under a changing climate include higher temperatures, changes in precipitation regimes, changes in the frequency and magnitude of extreme temperature and precipitation events, and greater exposure to weeds, pests and pathogens. Combined with rising temperatures and nitrogen deposition, elevated atmospheric CO2 may positively impact pasture productivity. However, rising temperatures may drive increased demand for irrigation in drier regions. 

An image describing the components used to build Grass-Cast.

Every spring, ranchers face the same difficult challenge – trying to guess how much grass will be available for livestock to graze during the upcoming summer. An innovative Grassland Productivity Forecast or Grass-Cast published its first forecast on May 22, 2018 to help...

Grass-Cast: Grassland Productivity Forecast

Photo by Matt Mortenson. Steers drinking out of water trough.

09/19/17 Flexible Stocking Summit Report The Flexible Stocking Summit brought ranchers together from eastern Wyoming and Colorado, alongside USDA researchers and University Extension professionals. The summit was held at the Semiarid Grasslands Research Center near Nunn, CO, on...

Flexible Stocking Summit Report: A Peer-to-Peer Discussion and Learning Event

Cows on pasture laneway

A rotational stocking system controls the timing and intensity of grazing by rotating animals among paddocks, and gives the pastures time for rest and regrowth. Why should I adapt? Heavy rain events have increased dramatically in the Northeastern United States. These downpours...

Managing Grazing to Improve Climate Resilience

Nutrient Tracking Tool Dashboard

NTT is a tool to estimate nutrient and sediment losses from crop and pasture.

Nutrient Tracking Tool

Cover image to Adaptation Resources for Agricultire

Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for agriculture. This technical bulletin was developed specifically to meet the unique needs of agricultural producers, and provide educators and service providers in the Midwest and Northeast regions of...

Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest and Northeast

The economic, social, and environmental costs of drought can be significant, and vulnerability to drought in arid and semi-arid regions will likely increase in the future with a warming climate. To promote stronger drought resilience on federal lands, the National Drought...

Responding to Ecological Drought in the Intermountain Region

chs-email-alert

Subscribe to the alert with your area of interest. The Southeast Regional Climate Hub (SERCH) monitors the ARS cattle heat stress dataset for changes at your area of interest. We send you a summary email notification of any changes.

SERCH LIGHTS Cattle Heat Stress Alert

The challenges facing specialty livestock are similar to what is experienced by larger livestock (swine, cattle): the ability to produce feed-grain, the quality of pastures and forage crop production, animal health, growth, and reproduction, and disease and pest distributions....

Specialty Animals

Climate change projections indicate an increase in average temperature across the year, a longer growing season, and a shift in precipitation from summer to winter, these changes will increase summer water stress, whereas in Alaska increased precipitation is projected along with...

Climate Change Basics: Northwest Agriculture

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