Provision of forage protein reservoirs to enhance utilization of low-quality forages by beef cattle

Forages are well suited for livestock production, wildlife habitat, and provide benefits for soil conservation. As forages mature, protein declines and fiber increases. In ruminant nutrition, forages with less than 7% crude protein are considered low quality. Since protein is the first-limiting nutrient with low quality forages, grazing mature forage grasses typically requires provision of supplemental protein. Our proof-of-concept project focuses on providing protein reservoirs which are areas designated to produce protein-rich forages (dryland alfalfa and sainfoin) for beef cattle with possible ancillary benefits in biodiversity. Protein reservoirs in association with pastures and rangelands represents a viable option to meet the nutrient requirements of livestock and is a self-fed means of reducing labor, and cost of purchased supplements. Once established, forage quality, digestibility, yield, and cost will be quantified throughout the grazing season, cattle movement and use of base forage and protein reservoirs will be monitored through GPS tracking.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 225
  • Project Status: Ongoing


  • Principal Investigator(s): Llewellyn, D.
  • Investigator(s): Fransen, S., Neibergs, S.
  • Grant Amount: $38,551