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. 

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…

Sustainable Agriculture and Research for Understanding, or SARE, has released the following resource: Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches. This document outlines the new challenges that changing weather patterns pose in agriculture throughout the United…

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. Heavy rain events have increased dramatically in the Northeastern United States. These downpours are causing more…

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…

Farm History Clovercrest Farm is a small-scale dairy farm owned by Steve Morrison and Sonja Heyck-Merlin located in Charleston, Maine, 25 miles outside of Bangor. They milk 95 Jersey cattle on 250 acres, of which 125 acres are pasture and 125 acres are wooded. The farm rents…

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…

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.…

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…

A changing climate introduces challenges for ranchers and natural resource managers. The following resources are designed to help them adjust their practices or even transform their operations: Adaptation Partners Adaptation Partners is a science-management partnership focused…