Alltech and Archbold Biological Station’s Buck Island Ranch in Florida recently formed a strategic research alliance to jointly develop beef management approaches, specifically to increase the quality and quantity of beef produced in subtropical regions while maintaining and enhancing the environment.
According to the announcement from Alltech, the Archbold-Alltech Alliance brings together scientists from two different disciplines — ecologists from Archbold and ruminant nutritionists from Alltech — to understand the impact cattle production has on an ecosystem.
“The research alliance between Alltech and Archbold’s Buck Island Ranch is an exciting collaboration to advance ranchland environmental and economic sustainability,” said Dr. Betsey Boughton, associate research program director at Archbold. “Combining Archbold’s rich ecological knowledge and long-term data with Alltech’s expertise in cattle nutrition is a unique opportunity to better understand — and, ultimately, may lead to — improved supplemental feed strategies and reducing cattle methane emissions.”
According to the announcement, Archbold’s research at Buck Island Ranch has long been focused on the relationships among agricultural production, management and natural resources, including water and soils, as well as biodiversity and addressing threats like invasive species and climate change.
Alltech said there are opportunities to evaluate how forage quality, range management practices and seasonal changes can affect cattle nutrition. Understanding these relationships can help with the development of cattle supplementation strategies to improve cattle production and reduce its environmental impact.
The tools in place at the Buck Island Ranch will allow for an evaluation of forage quality and range management practices across seasons as well as an assessment of how nutritional interventions can affect both the cattle and their environment in the long term, Alltech said. The goal is to understand the effects cattle production may have on the environment and to develop supplementation strategies that reduce cattle methane emissions and improve sustainability.
“The coming together of these two groups represents a unique and exciting opportunity,” Alltech ruminant research director Dr. Vaughn Holder said. “As animal scientists, we look at these production systems from a very different perspective than an ecologist that is studying an ecosystem. With this alliance, we aim to demonstrate that the maintenance of the ecosystem is a critical factor in sustainable beef production and also to show how cattle can be a critical part of maintaining natural ecosystems.”
Archbold Biological Station, established in 1941, is the primary division of Archbold Expeditions, a not-for-profit, independent research institution in central Florida. The station is dedicated to long-term ecological research as part of the global effort to understand, interpret and preserve the world’s natural heritage. Staff, visiting investigators and students conduct research primarily focused on the organisms and environments of Lake Wales Ridge and adjacent central Florida.
With expertise in yeast fermentation, solid-state fermentation and the sciences of nutrigenomics and metabolomics, Alltech is a producer of yeast additives, organic trace minerals, feed ingredients, premix and feed. Alltech is a private, family-owned company headquartered just outside of Lexington, Ky.