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Water-saving Alternative Forage Crops for Texas Livestock

Water-saving Alternative Forage Crops for Texas Livestock

In the semi-arid Texas High Plains, growers and producers are concerned about the sustainability of beef and dairy industries, which rely heavily on irrigated corn for feed-grain and silage. A main source of irrigation—the Ogallala Aquifer—is declining rapidly. The aquifer's decline emphasizes the need for producers and growers to find alternative, water-efficient forage crops for sustainable beef and dairy production in the region.

In a new study published in Crop Science, researchers from Texas Tech University investigated the potential of forage sorghum and pearl millet as alternatives to corn for forage production. The 2-year study evaluated the physiological responses of multiple varieties of all three crops under various irrigation regimes, including dryland. The team collected data on leaf water potential, stomatal conductance, and canopy temperature. They also studied the influence of these responses on biomass production and nutritive values.

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