A model-farm approach to research on crop-livestock integration — III. Benefits of crop-livestock integration and a critique of the approach
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Euan F Thomson, Faik Bahhady, Thomas L Nordblom, Hazel c Harris. (20/3/2000). A model-farm approach to research on crop-livestock integration — III. Benefits of crop-livestock integration and a critique of the approach. Agricultural Systems, 49 (1), pp. 31-44.
A six year on-station research project used a model-farm approach to study the benefits of improved crop-livestock integration, achieved through the introduction of leguminous forage species into crop rotations. Previous papers reported the conceptual framework, methods and experimental results. A model farm with integrated crop-sheep enterprises had twice the output of metabolizable energy and a higher stocking rate compared to a model farm with traditional rotations. A linear programming model suggested that integration improved farm profits and stocking rates, but improving the nutritional regime of ewes reduced farm profits. The model-farm approach allows close supervision of animals but otherwise had several weaknesses, in particular the difficulty of mimicking the real farm environment on a research station. If the weaknesses are corrected, the approach could be applied with substantial benefits in national programs that have under-utilized land, animal and staffing resources.
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