Alabama – SARE Southern

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.

SARE in Alabama

Alabama A&M University, Auburn University and Tuskegee University are the partners in the Alabama SARE program. Alabama SARE partners researchers, extension faculty and producers to find and implement science-based practices in every aspect of Alabama’s agriculture system.

You can also read more about Farm Certifications – SARE Southern.

Alabama Impacts

  • $4.2 million in funding since 1988
  • 89 projects funded since 1988

You can also read about the Virginia – SARE Southern and the Arksansas – SARE Southern.

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).

Fellows Program

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.

State Contacts

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.

Ayanava Majumdar

Extension Entomologist, Peanuts & Vegetables
Auburn University/Alabama Extension

Email | (251) 331-8416

Rudy Pacumbaba

Extension Specialist
Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Email | (256) 372-4266

Franklin Quarcoo

Assistant Professor of Entomology & Extension IPM
Tuskegee University

Email | (334) 727-8792

You can see more Farm Grants for Females elsewhere on this website.