Integrated Crop and Livestock Systems

The educational materials listed on this page are about Integrated Crop and Livestock Systems.

Crops and livestock were traditionally  integrated in most farming systems. Integrated crop and livestock farming can improve nutrient cycling. Integrated management, or integrated farming, can also reduce off-farm impacts and improve water management. Integrated crop livestock systems also interrupt pest cycles on farms. Reduced economic risk through diversification on integrated crop-livestock systems is an added benefit to the integrated production system. Resources on integrated farm systems can be recycled more efficiently. Integrated crop and livestock operations may also benefit from increased efficiency in yields. The advantages to integrated agriculture are numerous for both the land and the farmer. Key practices include crop rotationnutrient managementnutrient cyclingforage managementmultispecies grazingpasture fertilityphysical controlstocking rate.

SARE’s Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual can help farmers identify strategies that will help improve soil quality and health, and manage pests, diseases and weeds. A Whole-Farm Approach to Managing Pests is a helpful bulletin that serves as a guide in designing a farm-wide approach to controlling pests. Visiting The Small Ruminant Toolbox will aid producers looking to diversify their operation by incorporating small livestock enterprises, which provide added benefits to crop rotation and pest and weed control.

Showing 1-20 of 26 results

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Cover Crop Economics

Cover crops can build soil health, control weeds, conserve moisture, provide grazing opportunities and more. But when do they start to pay for themselves? This analysis looks at the economics behind different management scenarios to determine if cover crops are likely to improve profitability in one, three or five years of use in corn and soybean rotations. 

Screenshot of an animated farm landscape

What is Soil Health?

Soil health plays an essential role in raising healthy, productive crops and livestock. With this interactive infographic, learn how practices such as cover crops, no-till, crop rotation and the integration of livestock work in concert to improve soil health.

Technical bulletin page

How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch

This 32-page bulletin outlines how to conduct research at the farm level, offering practical tips for both crop and livestock producers, as well as a comprehensive list of more in-depth resources.

Cover Crops as Part of an Overall Nutrient Management System

In this session, Steven Mirsky (USDA-ARS) and Heather Darby (University of Vermont) discuss the role of cover crops in integrated fertility management and address cover crops in the context of forages, dairies, perennials and pastures, and rotating pasture to grain.

Woman kneeling in vegetable crop.

National Continuing Education Program

This program is designed for Cooperative Extension and Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, and is also open to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural professionals nationwide. It emphasizes core concepts and a basic understanding of sustainable agriculture, its goals and its relevance to every farming and ranching operation—large or small.

The core of the national continuing education program is a series of three online courses. Take them now.

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2015/2016 Report from the Field

Read about SARE-funded work in the areas of sustainable dairy cropping systems, soil health assessments, nutrient management, cover crops, beginning farmers, pollinators, technical assistance programs for women farmers, and more. This edition includes highlights of projects funded through the graduate student program, and the highly regarded Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship, a professional development program coordinated by SARE and NACAA.

Cover Page of Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations

Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations

Cover crops are one of the best ways to improve soil health, reduce off-farm inputs and protect natural resources. Find a wealth of educational materials developed out of decades of SARE-funded cover crop research.

National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health logo

2014 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

All session recordings and slide presentations from the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health are available online. Held in 2014 in Omaha, Neb., the event brought together 300 agricultural leaders and innovators to explore how we can make American agriculture more sustainable through improved soil health. Attendees represented agricultural industry, the farm community, academia, government, commodity and conservation organizations.

Que es la Agricultura Sustentable

¿Qué es la Agricultura Sustentable?

Este reporte ganador de un premio provee un muestrario de mejores prácticas en la agricultura sustentable – desde el mercadeo y la vitalidad de la comunidad hasta cultivos de cobertura y pastoreo – así como ocho perfiles de productores, educadores e investigadores que las han implementado con éxito. 

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Multi-State Resource Tool Addresses Small Ruminant Production Needs

A comprehensive small ruminant resource tool covering all manners of production, planning, marketing, health, and facilities has been developed to aid producers and the Extension agents who work with them in improving sheep and goat profitability and sustainability. Linda Coffey, agriculture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), said that the popularity of […]

the whole farm nutrient balance calculator

Whole Farm Mass Nutrient Balance Calculator

This software program calculates the annual difference between a farm's imported and exported nutrients (N, P and K). Teaching guides and instructions for the tool's use are also available.

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Alternative Continuous-Cover Dairy Forage System for Profitability, Flexibility and Soil Health

In a SARE-funded study in New York, a team of farmers, researchers and consultants addressed economic, labor and weather constraints in dairy farm rotations by developing an alternative forage cropping system with multiple options to produce high-quality forages. This system produces forage with yields comparable to traditional cropping systems, and is based on soil health management.

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Trained Sheep Grazing Vineyard Floor

According to researchers, training sheep to have a food aversion is a simple process. However, there are important steps to follow to improve the strength of the aversion. This fact sheet describes the aversion training process.