Clemson University team in Argentina to study pasture-fed beef production
CLEMSON — Four animal scientists and a graduate student from the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and three Clemson Extension agents are in Argentina to learn more about grass-fed, sustainable livestock production. Supported by a USDA grant, the Clemson team left for Argentina earlier this month and will be returning March 28.
“We want to build a bond between Clemson University and Instituto Nacional de Technologia Agropecuria of Argentina,” said John Andrae, Clemson forage crops specialist. “We will establish a four-year research and education project to expose Clemson faculty, students and Extension agents to forage-based sustainable livestock systems in Argentina and develop research collaborations with Argentine scientists. The outcome would be to do research incorporating promising Argentine forage and livestock system practices under replicated research settings in the southeastern U.S.”
The Clemson team includes Susan Duckett, Scott Pratt and Tom Jenkins from the animal and veterinary sciences department; John Andrae from the entomology, soils and plant sciences department; Clemson Extension agents Brian Beer, Matt Burns and Kevin Campbell; and graduate student Ashley Burns.
Research by Duckett and Andrae has found that forage-fed beef has a higher nutritional value than its grain-fed counterpart. Forage-fed beef has 40 percent less fat and higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and beta carotene than grain-fed beef.
According to Andrae, there is a growing niche market nationwide for pasture-fed beef. High-quality forage can be grown year round in the Southeast, which already raises 25 percent of the calves for the beef industry. A goal of this project is to increase the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of all Southeast beef systems, including cow-calf production.
“Uncertain costs have increased the risk involved in livestock industries,” said Andrae. “But there's also a need for knowledge regarding animal production and product quality. Forage and livestock production systems in Argentina rely on fewer inputs, such as supplemental animal feed, additives and high levels of commercial fertilizer.”
You can follow Clemson team members in Argentina by visiting their blog at http://clemsonforages.tumblr.com/.