Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30075
Economic effects and Energy Use Efficiency of Incorporating Alfalfa and Fertilizer into Grass- Based Pasture Systems

Authors: M. Khakbazan, S. L. Scott, H. C. Block, C. D. Robins, W. P. McCaughey

Abstract:

A ten-year grazing study was conducted at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Brandon Research Centre in Manitoba to study the effect of alfalfa inclusion and fertilizer (N, P, K, and S) addition on economics and efficiency of non-renewable energy use in meadow brome grass-based pasture systems for beef production. Fertilizing grass-only or alfalfa-grass pastures to full soil test recommendations improved pasture productivity, but did not improve profitability compared to unfertilized pastures. Fertilizing grass-only pastures resulted in the highest net loss of any pasture management strategy in this study. Adding alfalfa at the time of seeding, with no added fertilizer, was economically the best pasture improvement strategy in this study. Because of moisture limitations, adding commercial fertilizer to full soil test recommendations is probably not economically justifiable in most years, especially with the rising cost of fertilizer. Improving grass-only pastures by adding fertilizer and/or alfalfa required additional non-renewable energy inputs; however, the additional energy required for unfertilized alfalfa-grass pastures was minimal compared to the fertilized pastures. Of the four pasture management strategies, adding alfalfa to grass pastures without adding fertilizer had the highest efficiency of energy use. Based on energy use and economic performance, the unfertilized alfalfa-grass pasture was the most efficient and sustainable pasture system.

Keywords: Alfalfa, grass, fertilizer, pasture systems, economics, energy.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1333102

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1294

References:


[1] Costa, M. I. S., Meza, M. E. M., 2006. Dynamical stabilization of grazing systems: An interplay among plant-water interaction, overgrazing and a threshold management policy Mathematical Biosciences 204:50-259.
[2] Coxworth, E., 1997. Energy use trends in Canadian agriculture: 1990 to 1996. Report to Canadian Agricultural Energy End Use Data Analysis Centre. University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK. 26 pp.
[3] Entz, M. H., Bullied, W. J., Forster, D. A., Gulden, R., Vessey, J. K., 2001. Extraction of Subsoil Nitrogen by Alfalfa, Alfalfa-Wheat, and Perennial Grass Systems. Agron. J. 93:495-503.
[4] Gayton, D.V. 1982. Direct energy use and conservation potential on Saskatchewan straight grain farms. Pages 687-690, In Proc. Energex 1982, Vol II, Solar Energy Society of Canada, Winnipeg, MB.
[5] Littell, R.C., Milliken, G.A., Stroup, W.W. and Wolfinger, R.D. 1996. SAS System for Mixed Models. SAS Institute, Inc. Cary, NC. 633 pp.
[6] Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) 2006. Crop Protection Guide: Weeds, Plant Diseases, Insects 2002-2005, pp. 354.
[7] Manitoba Crop Insurance Corporation, 2002. Manitoba Crop Insurance Corporation Premium Tables-2002 Crop Year.
[8] National Research Council. 1996. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle. Seventh Revised Edition, 1996. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 1996.
[9] Perillat, B.J., Brown W.J., Cohen, R.D.H., 2004. A risk efficiency analysis of Backgrounding and finishing steers on pasture in Saskatchewan, Canada. Agricultural Systems 80:213-233.
[10] Popp, J.D., W.P. McCaughey, R.D.H. Cohen, T.A. McAllister, and W. Majak.2000. Enhancing pasture productivity with alfalfa: A review. Can. J. Plant Sci. 80:513-519.
[11] Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization, 2004. Farm Machinery Custom and Rental Rate Guide 2004. Sustainable Production Branch, Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, Regina, SK.
[12] Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization, 2007. Farm Machinery Custom and Rental Rate Guide 2007. Sustainable Production Branch, Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, Regina, SK.
[13] Stirling, B. 1979. Use of non-renewable energy on Saskatchewan farms: A preliminary study. Saskatchewan Research Council, Province of Saskatchewan, Regina, SK.
[14] Weseen, S., Lindenbach, R., 1998. An energy use efficiency indicator for agriculture. In R. Lindenbach, S. Weseen, S. Diarra and J. Kowalski (eds.) The Kyoto protocol: Greenhouse gas emissions and the agricultural sector. CSALE Working Paper Series #1, Vol. 2, Centre for Studies in Agriculture, Law and the Environment, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.
[15] Zentner, R.P, Lafond, G.P., Derksen, D.A., Nagy, C.N., Wall, D.D., May, W.E., 2004. Effects of tillage method and crop rotation on nonrenewable energy use efficiency for a thin Black Chernozem in the Canadian Prairies. Soil & Tillage Research 77:125-136.