Submitted to: Brazilian Animal Science Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2013
Publication Date: 6/20/2013
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J. 2013. Integrated crop-livestock systems for agricultural sustainability. Brazilian Animal Science Society. (CD-ROM), 23-26 July 2013, Campinas, Brazil.
Technical Abstract: Forages for animal diets and grain/fiber/vegetable crops for human diets are capable of coexistence in ecologically-oriented approaches, e.g. long-term sod-based rotations, short-term cover crops, temporally dynamic inter-cropping or relay-cropping, and spatially dynamic strip-cropping, alley-cropping, or silvo-pastoral systems. Forages have extensive, fibrous root systems that explore large volumes of soil, mostly in the surface foot of soil, but also penetrating deep into the profile. Perennial forages also extend the growing season compared with annual cash crops, thereby photosynthesizing, depositing rhizosphere carbon inputs, and drying soil during longer periods of time than annual crops. Integrated crop-livestock systems with forages for animal consumption offer an opportunity to transform agriculture in industrialized countries to increase production, mitigate past environmental damage, protect biological diversity, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, provide healthier foods, and increase economic and cultural opportunities in farming systems. This presentation reviews some of the scientific evidence to support this perspective for promotion of integrated crop-livestock systems.