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Forage Scientist Receives Animal Science Award

01 April 2010

US - Dr Monte Rouquette, Texas AgriLife Research forage scientist, recently received a dedicated service award from the Southern Section of the American Society of Animal Science.

Dr Rouquette is based at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton. The award was presented at the society's annual meeting in February at Orlando, Florida.

The society's mission is to foster "the discovery, sharing and application of scientific knowledge concerning the responsible use of animals to enhance human life and well-being," according to the organisation's Web site.

Dr Rouquette was cited for his years of work with what animal scientists term the soil-plant-animal interface, according to Dr Vanessa Corriher, the Texas AgriLife Extension forage specialist who nominated Dr Rouquette for the award.

"Soil-plant-animal interface" means Dr Rouquette's research deals with not just one aspect of grazing systems, but how the performance of cattle, forages and soils interact and affect the performance of each other, Dr Corriher explained.

"The primary impact of science from Dr Rouquette’s projects has further defined biological boundaries for environmentally compatible, sustainable pasture-livestock systems," Dr Corriher wrote.

Rouquette started one of his projects on nutrient recycling long before high nitrogen and other fertiliser prices became a major issue for livestock producers, Dr Corriher said.

Starting in 1985, Dr ARouquette compared soil nutrient levels, forage production and animal performance on two fertility treatments.

One treatment used applied nitrogen on Bermuda grass pastures over-seeded with annual ryegrass. The other treatment involved no applied nitrogen on Bermuda grass pasture over-seeded with annual clover.

"He used both common and coastal Bermuda grass pastures and found that the stocking rates with clover where no nitrogen was applied had to be lighter, but the cost of a pound of calf-gain were less with over-seeded clover because of nutrient cycling and nitrogen transfer," Dr Corriher said.

His work also has been of great value to commercial beef producers, Dr Corriher said, particularly as fertiliser costs more than doubled in the last few years.

"The economic impact of substituting legumes for nitrogen fertiliser, stocking and supplementation strategies, and enhanced animal performance per animal and per unit land area basis has been an invaluable asset to state and regional stakeholders," she said.

Other notable research by Dr Rouquette includes his work with stocker cattle on small grains and ryegrass. He's also worked with the economic benefits of Tifton 85 Bermuda grass, and studied the lifetime performance of calves sired by F-1 (first cross) Brahman and English breed cows.

Dr Rouquette received his bachelor's of science degree in agronomy from Texas A&I University, Kingsville, in 1965, his master's in forage cropping systems from Texas Tech University in 1967, and his doctorate in forage physiology from Texas A&M in 1970. He has been employed by AgriLife Research and worked at the Overton center in Rusk County since 1970.

His previous awards and honors include a Texas A&M vice chancellor's Awards in Excellence in 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1996; being named a Regents Fellow, 2000; American Society of Agronomy, Southern Section Career Award in Research, 1998; Texas A&M Soil and Crop Sciences Departmental Award for Research, 1997; American Society of Agronomy Fellow, 1996; Build East Texas Award of Excellence in Agricultural Research and Extension, 1990; Texas Forage and Grassland Council, Public Service Award, 1984.

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