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