Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Hannah Stevens
Biofertilizers a Viable Alternative to Synthetic Nitrogen in Forage Production
Beneficial soil microbes are good alternatives to synthetic nitrogen for fertilization and quality enhancement in livestock forage production systems, based on Auburn University’s Research.
Nitrogen fertilizer is responsible for the largest variable input costs associated with forage production and could potentially have a negative impact on soil, water, and air resources. To ensure the sustainability of the livestock industry’s economic and environmental viability, it is essential to produce livestock from both conserved and grazed forage production.
What They Found on Bermuda Grass
Researchers found that bermudagrass with plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria produced similar results to synthetic fertilizer treatments in terms of forage dry matter yield and nutritional value after a two-year study funded by a SARE Research and Education grant. These results suggest that plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria might be an option for biofertilization from fall-stockpiled Bermudag- rass. However, the researchers emphasize that more research is required to determine the effects of beneficial soil microbes on a larger scale.
The experiments on 18 bermudagrass plots involved a negative control, synthetic fertilizer, one strain of plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria, one strain of Bacillus species, and a mixture of beneficial microbes and fertilizer. At the beginning of each stockpiling period in August, two applications of plant-growth-promoting Rhizobacteria were made. The second application was 30 days later. Each year, a third of each plot was cut in the middle of November, December, and January to determine dry matter yields and nutritive values.
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Professional Development Program
In each state, agricultural educators work directly alongside farmers and ranchers to promote sustainable agriculture production and marketing. SARE state agricultural coordinators offer support in sustainable agriculture education and outreach strategies through a program called “The Professional Development Program” (PDP).
The Sustainable Agriculture Fellows Program is offered by SARE and NACAA. It enhances Cooperative Extension staff’s knowledge of sustainable agriculture and gives them broad-based national exposure to unique and successful sustainable agriculture programs.
Alabama’s SARE state coordinators are crucial in expanding sustainable agriculture training for Extension, NRCS and other agricultural professionals. This will help producers transition to a more sustainable farming system.
Extension Entomologist, Peanuts & Vegetables
Auburn University/Alabama Extension
Email | (251) 331-8416
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Email | (256) 372-4266
Assistant Professor of Entomology & Extension IPM
Email | (334) 727-8792
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