Forage production, as with any other agricultural enterprise, involves manipulation of the environment. Depending on the production system involved, the environmental manipulation may be viewed as minimal to severe. Examples of production practices that are generally viewed as relatively minimal manipulation would include lightly grazing a permanent pasture or cultivating a row crop to remove weed seedlings. Examples of production practices generally viewed as relatively severe manipulation would include clearing naturally forested areas for pasture or applying a broad spectrum herbicide to kill all green vegetation. Whether the manipulation is viewed as minimal or as severe by humans, virtually any level of environmental manipulation may result in undesirable side effects. To put it another way, solutions to problems in production agriculture may in turn create new problems in the surrounding environment.

The environmental issues in forage production are very similar to environmental issues associated with crop production in general. The purpose of the environmental issues in forage production section of the curriculum is to discuss several major environmental issues associated with forage production. The table below summarizes some of the major environmental issues associated with forage production.

Environmental Issues in Forage Production
Environmental impact of agrichemicals
Using agricultural land to produce livestock feed
Genetic Engineering: Benefits and Risks
Crop Biodiversity
Sustainability of forage production systems


The list presented above is by no means exhaustive. As production practices change new and different environmental issues are likely to arise.



Image: Spraying Agrichemicals