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Research National Programs National Pastures & Forages Production Research Program
National Pastures & Forages Production Research Program




The forage consumption, by direct grazing or eventually conserved, is the nutritional base of Uruguayan herds and flocks. In addition, ley farming systems (particularly grasses-legumes with crops) give the benefit of higher biologic and economic stability to the production and show the importance of pastures as one of the basis for livestock production, and setup principles for new scenarios and strategies in the different productive chains.

Natural grasslands are the main renewable resources of the country, contributing to productivity and conservation. The definition of management strategies for the different plant communities to improve its productivity, reducing degradation and assuring biodiversity maintenance, is relevant. However, the current complex situation given by market competitiveness and globalization requires a more dynamic production process in an economic and sustainable manner. Therefore it becomes relevant to adequate the forage basis, including cultivated pastures (perennial and annual) with a higher production potential and persistence, applying appropriate management practices and diminishing risks from weeds, pests and diseases. In this context, in extensive sheep and beef systems the improvement of natural grasslands through the addition of phosphate fertilizers and the oversowing of legumes, increase productivity with minor ecosystems modifications representing an advantage from the environmental point of view.

However, annual and perennial pastures are the main resources in livestock-cropping, beef and dairy intensive areas, being the adjustment of management practices a key objective.

The availability of improved forage cultivars adapted to different environments and production systems impacts positively on productivity and / or persistency of each component of the forage chain. In order to offer new materials forage plant breeding is a permanent and long term activity of this INIA Research Program.




Develop, adapt and validate technological solutions that maximize production and pasture use efficiency for the different production chains, in a sustainable manner, with a rational and responsible use of the available resources, contributing to the social and economic benefit of the farmers and the society as a whole.




1/ Develop and make effectively available to farmers, adapted and improved forage species, including in it the adoption of new species and varieties, as well as improved native species, to increase value of agricultural products, productivity and profitability of production systems.

2/ Design, evaluate and make available practices and management technologies recognized by an acceptable impact on the environment for the control of weeds, harmful-insects and plant diseases, promoting clean, safe, responsible and environmentally-friendly production systems

3/ Study soil-plant-animal relationships that affect forage utilization processes, interacting with soil and biotic communities aiming to enhance productivity and sustainability.    

4/ Study productive losses due to individual or combined stress factors affecting the plant energy, competence and nutrition including soil biotic and abiotic factors which reduce pasture production and persistence

5/ Develop sustainable management practices of natural grasslands -main support of Uruguayan farming systems- promoting new ways of value-adding to the agricultural products, considering conservation of biodiversity




Contact: pastures@inia.org.uy