Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems in Humid, Subtropical and Warm Temperate Environments.
Alan Franzluebbers1, David Wright2, John Stuedemann1, and Donald Reeves1. (1) USDA-ARS, 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677, (2) University of Florida, 155 Research Road, Quincy, FL 32352
Integration of crops and livestock in the southeastern USA has potential to increase productivity, reduce negative impacts of agriculture on the environment, and strengthen agricultural communities. Sod-based rotations can foster soil organic matter accumulation, relieve weed, disease, and insect pressures, and create a diversity of options available to producers for increasing profit and environmental stewardship. Corn (Zea mays L.), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), and peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) are typical crops in the warm, humid southeastern USA that can benefit from sod-based rotations. Improvement in soil organic matter with integrated crop-livestock production often results in a cascade of improvements in agroecosystem functioning, e.g. greater water infiltration and crop water-use efficiency, better root growth and distribution in soil, and higher annualized productivity. Several constraints to the wider adoption of integrated crop-livestock production in the region exist and will be discussed. Based on the balance of information available, we recommend greater adoption of integrated crop-livestock production for sustainability of agriculture in the southeastern USA.