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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #201285

Title: Chapter 14: Incorporating targeted grazing into farming systems

item Lenssen, Andrew

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 12/1/2006
Citation: Hatfield, P., Goosey, H., Lenssen, A.W., Blodgett, S. 2006. Chapter 14: Incorporating targeted grazing into farming systems. In: Launchbaugh, K., Walker, J., editors. Targeted Grazing. American Sheep Industry Association. p. 129-140.

Interpretive Summary: Cropping systems were once wholly integrated with livestock production. Livestock gained forage value from crop aftermath, crops were grown to sustain livestock, and livestock were used as implements to produce crops. Today, few cropping systems include livestock. Reducing production costs while creating opportunities in the form of low cost livestock production could dramatically alter grain and forage production, and at the same time filling increasing consumer demand for food and fiber produced in an environmentally sound manner. This chapter highlights several techniques fro integrating sheep or other livestock grazing into grain and forage systems, potentially improving profitability and sustainability for crop and livestock producers. It examines the use of livestock to manage summer fallow, weeds, and insect pests by grazing grain and forage residues, practices that can help crop producers reduce pesticide use and tillage, allow livestock producers to tap into valuable feed sources, and enable rural communities to embrace new opportunities.

Technical Abstract: Cropping systems were once wholly integrated with livestock production, but today, few cropping systems include livestock. Sheep and goats traditionally produced on rangelands or pasture forages and supplemented with harvested feeds during winter. We present concepts and specific areas whereby grazing livestock can be integrated into cropping systems for the benefit of both crop and livestock producers. These areas include management of weeds and volunteer grain in cereal-summer fallow systems, and grazing wheat residues to reduce insect pests, including wheat stem sawfly, cereal leaf beetle, Hessian fly, and wheat stem maggot in wheat, and grazing alfalfa for alfalfa weevil management. Grazing cropland with sheep or goats can result in limited soil compaction, but research has not documented any reduction in subsequent crop yields. Integrating livestock into farming operations can provide low-capital business opportunities.