Dr. T. David A. Forbes
Associate Professor of Research
Forages supply about 70% of the life-time nutrients consumed by Texas livestock. The most recent cash receipts for all forage-consuming livestock in Texas were about $10 billion with nearly $8.4 billion attributed to beef cattle. Forages are the only “crop” found in each of Texas’ 254 counties and represent a significant source of income for stakeholders. The drought of 2011 resulted in damage to 3.3 million acres of rangeland and pasture by wildfire, the loss of the hay crop and the wholesale dispersal of cattle herds. Losses to livestock and from lost hay production are estimated at $2.81 billion. In 2010, there were 300,000 cattle in Uvalde and the surrounding 8 counties. Cattle numbers on rangeland have been declining as a result of changes in land ownership. There has been a small increase in acreage devoted to irrigated pasture both for hay and grazing in the region, but availability and cost of water is a concern.
- Beef Improvement – Texas. A USDA-NIFA funded project to investigate the biological basis for feed efficiency in beef cattle. M.S. student
- Enhancement of water conservation and nitrogen efficiency through legume-based cropping systems. Funded by Texas AgriLife Research
- Evaluation of establishment, survival, growth and seed set of native grass and dicot species. Funded by South Texas Natives.
- Methods to improve estimates of enteric methane emissions from beef cattle raised in non-confinement production systems. Funded by the University of Manitoba
- Integration of animal foraging into conservation agriculture to sustainably intensify and diversify crop production in South Africa. Funded by Texas AgriLife Research
National/Regional/State: Optimize water use efficiency, increase soil organic matter and reduce soil erosion by using more appropriate irrigation management and tillage methods. Develop understanding of feed efficiency and reduce methane emissions in grazing cattle.
International: Apply information obtained from local research to assist South African livestock owners to integrate livestock and cropping systems more effectively.
Opportunities and Collaborations
Proposals submitted to USDA – NIFA to fully fund the Cropping Systems project, and to the SUN Grant program to explore the potential of bermudagrass as a fuel for bioenergy.