Utilizing animals in farming

Reducing underutilization of livestock
Livestock are important components of agricultural systems. As well as their economic value, in many agricultural communities they also have institutionalized functions as are gifts, inheritance, brideprice and in ceremonies, celebrations, and rituals.

In the USA one-half of total agricultural receipts come from the sale of livestock. They harvest range plants, forages, and crop residues; they level out the effects of the seasonality and variability of rainfall; they cushion disruptions in the trade and marketing of feed grains; they counteract declining soil fertility and soil erosion; and they contribute to the efficient year-round use of farm labour.

Unfortunately, farmers are often not inclined to adopt alternative animal agriculture systems despite the advantages they may offer. Constraints that may be encountered include possibilities of reduced short-term profits, difficulties in adapting available technology to alternative farming systems, difficulties in shifting from specialized crop or livestock farms to crop/livestock farms, and the increased needs for labour and management.

Some actions needed in the USA to improve livestock production in alternative farming systems are: the establishment of government policies to promote the shift of marginal lands to soil and water conserving crops and the incorporation of pastures and forages in crop rotations; research to improve the utilization by ruminants of ligno-cellulosic feeds (pastures, forages, crop resides); and programmes to improve range and forest management and to lead to the development of systems that optimize the use of forages for the production of nutritionally desirable lean beef.
Facilitated by:
Improving animal husbandry
Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies