Impacts of Livestock/perennial Grasses on Peanut/cotton.
David Wright, James Marois, Duli Zhao, Tawainga Katsvairo, Cheryl Mackowiak, and Kris Balkcom. University of Florida, 155 Research Road, Quincy, FL 32351
Fuel and input prices have made it necessary to develop more risk free farming systems that lower input costs while increasing economic return. Studies comparing peanuts and cotton in rotation alone vs. using perennial grasses for 2 years in a peanut/cotton rotation using conservation tillage has shown positive impacts from the bahiagrass on parameters measured. Measured parameters include yield (peanut, cotton, winter grazing), leaf area index (total plant biomass), water infiltration, soil organic matter, root mass, earthworm numbers, soil compaction, bulk density, soil moisture, pest pressure, economics, etc. Positive benefit of the perennial grass rotation continued for 2 full years and winter grazing. Yield and root mass of both cotton and peanut were greater than conservation tillage in the cotton/peanut rotation. Livestock and year round utilization of the land added even more to the positive economics of the system. This system goes against the concept of larger acreage and equipment where best rotation practices often get thrown out for the sake of utilizing the equipment for longer periods of time while increasing the utilization of land resources. This perennial grass system impacts positively the economic and environmental factors of the farm, having less land farmed in row crops while risking less capital than using conservation tillage with standard rotations.