Integrating Livestock and Crops: Improving Soil, Solving Problems, Increasing Income

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By Linda Coffey, NCAT Agriculture Specialist and Tracy Mumma, NCAT Program Specialist

Published: December 2014

Updated: n/a



16 pages


Traditional farms relied on livestock to maintain soil fertility and to use plant material that would otherwise have been wasted. Modern agriculture has tended to favor specialization, leading to large crop farms with no livestock. Incorporating livestock into a crop farm (grain, vegetable, or orchard) can benefit the soil organic matter and fertility, diversify the product base, provide new sources of income and farm resilience, and help with weed and pest control. Chemical, fuel, and fertilizer expenditures can be minimized and a new dimension added to the farm. This publication will outline some of the benefits and challenges of integrating livestock into a farm and will offer tips and resources to ease the transition. Case studies are included.

Table of Contents

Soil Improvement
Benefits of Livestock
Further Resources

Note: Digital downloads are in full color. Printed, mailed copies are only available in black & white.


This page was last updated on: May 7, 2019