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Title: WHOLE FARM INTEGRATION: SILVOPASTORAL SYSTEMS

Author
item Neel, James - Jim
item Belesky, David

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2006
Publication Date: 7/8/2006
Citation: Neel, J.P., Belesky, D.P. 2006. Whole farm integration: Silvopastoral systems. Beef Species Symposium: Enterprise Integration for Sustainable Beef Production. Journal of Animal Science. 84(1):444.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Silvopasture integrates tree and forage production, creating unique microclimates. These microclimates significantly impact forage physiology, growth and development, and thus nutritive value. Integration of silvopasture into the farm system will influence nutrient availability, balance and cycling throughout the year. It also impacts overall farm productivity and income by increasing the production and value of saleable product. This is accomplished (dependent on geographic location) either by increased management of existing woodlots, thinning lower value trees and decreasing tree canopy to the point where herbage plants can be sustained, or introduction of trees to open pasture. We have found silvopasture herbage generally contains higher levels of nitrogen relative to energy when compared to that growing in open pasture. This energy:nitrogen relationship provides unique opportunities from both an animal nutrition and farm systems standpoint. Nutritionally, silvopasture can be a source of nitrogen rich herbage to be utilized as a supplement to forage that is nitrogen deficient. From a systems standpoint, these areas may provide a means of capturing excess or waste nitrogen due to the inherent plant need for increased nitrogen levels because of microclimate conditions. Sustainable beef production is dependent on the reduction of off-farm inputs and the efficient utilization and integration of on-farm resources. For many beef enterprises, the incorporation of silvopasture or improved management of existing silvopasture, will enhance resource management and increase the chances for sustainability. We present experiences in the establishment and management of silvopasture as well as knowledge on nutritive value and pasture productivity.