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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS FOR THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS Title: Soil hydrological attributes of an integrated crop-livestock agroecosystem: Increased adaptation through resistance to soil change

Authors
item Liebig, Mark
item Tanaka, Donald
item Kronberg, Scott
item Scholljegerdes, Eric -
item Karn, James -

Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 2011
Publication Date: June 19, 2011
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/53937
Citation: Liebig, M.A., Tanaka, D.L., Kronberg, S.L., Scholljegerdes, E.J., Karn, J.F. 2011. Soil hydrological attributes of an integrated crop-livestock agroecosystem: Increased adaptation through resistance to soil change. Applied and Environmental Soil Science. Article ID 464827, 6 pages. doi:10.1155/2011/464827.

Interpretive Summary: Integrated crop-livestock systems have been purported to have significant agronomic and environmental benefits compared to specialized, single-enterprise production systems. However, concerns exist regarding the effect of livestock in integrated systems to cause soil compaction, thereby decreasing infiltration of water into the soil. A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of residue management, frequency of hoof traffic, season, and production system (e.g., integrated annual cropping vs. perennial grass) on infiltration rates from 2001 through 2008 in central North Dakota. Imposed treatments had no effect on infiltration rate, implying producers should not be concerned with infiltration problems in integrated annual cropping systems where winter grazing is used. The use of no-till management, coupled with annual freeze/thaw and wet/dry cycles, likely conferred an inherent resistance to change in near-surface soil properties. Accordingly, caution should be exercised in applying these results to other regions or management systems.

Technical Abstract: Integrated crop-livestock production systems have been suggested to improve agricultural productivity, environmental quality, operational efficiency, and economic performance relative to specialized, single-enterprise production systems. Benefits from crop-livestock integration emanate from production synergies brought about by using crops and crop residues for livestock feed while capturing nutrients from livestock wastes for crop production. While several attributes of integrated crop-livestock production systems are positive, there are concerns regarding the role of animal traffic in these systems to adversely affect near-surface soil conditions, with concomitant impacts on soil hydrological characteristics. A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of residue management, frequency of hoof traffic, season, and production system (e.g., integrated annual cropping vs. perennial grass) on infiltration rates from 2001 through 2008 in central North Dakota. Imposed treatments had no effect on infiltration rate, implying producers should not be concerned with infiltration problems in integrated annual cropping systems where winter grazing is used. The use of no-till management, coupled with annual freeze/thaw and wet/dry cycles, likely conferred an inherent resistance to change in near-surface soil properties. Accordingly, caution should be exercised in applying these results to other regions or management systems.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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