See more from this Session: General Agronomic Production Systems: I
Tuesday, October 18, 2011: 1:45 PM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 213A, Concourse Level
Enterprise diversity is the key to ensure productive and sustainable agriculture for the future. Integration of crops and livestock enterprises is one way to improve agricultural sustainability, and take advantage of beneficial enterprise synergistic effects. Our objectives were to develop cropping systems, including cover crops, which provide forage, stover, and grain for bred cows during the late fall and over-winter period (late September through December) and determine livestock impacts on following forage, stover, and grain production in the northern Great Plains. A three-year cropping system that included 1) oats, with a cover crop of alfalfa/hairy vetch/red clover, 2) sorghum x sudan, with a cover crop of sweet clover and red clover, 3) corn harvested for grain. Experiment was initiated in 2006 with 2007 as the first year of crop data collection. All phases of the crop sequence were present each year and all crops were no-till seeded. Treatments for each crop were forage or stover left in place (IP), forage or stover removed (R) both with no livestock grazing, and all forage or stover grazed by livestock (L). For oats and sorghum x sudan, the R and L treatments had forage production and precipitation use efficiencies that were similar to the IP treatment. For corn, the L treatment produced 11.5% more grain and 17.6% more stover than the IP treatment. In no-till integrated crop/livestock systems for the northern Great Plains, livestock grazing does not appear to reduce forage, stover, or grain production. Therefore, agriculture production systems that contain enterprise diversity have the potential to improve sustainability through crop and livestock production.