The Benefits of Bringing Cattle and Crops Together
Integrating cattle and crops is a new sustainable agribusiness that works perfectly in developing and developed countries. But many farmers still wonder whether the practice is beneficial.
Bringing cattle and crops together does have several benefits. Cash crops and cattle together can help bring diversity to a farm. This type of farming is essential in farms with little land.
It’s a great way that can help boost your farm’s profitability. The combination can help reduce diseases, increase soil nutrients and improve soil health.
Let’s see some of the benefits farmers stand to gain by bringing cattle and crops together.
Benefits of bringing cattle and crops together
Low production cost and increased profits
This type of farming will for sure lead to increased profits. This is because of the reduced production cost. When rearing cattle alone, the production cost is high because of the cost of cattle feeds.
Farmers can grow crops like corn in the spring and use it to feed the cattle when ready. Over the winter periods, farmers can grow barley or rye and use it to feed cattle during the summer.
It’s a cost-effective way that will save you thousands in animal feed. The same will not happen when you only have cattle and have to buy most of the feeds. Some of the fruits and vegetables in your garden can also be used to feed cattle.
Take, for example, cabbage or kale farmers or even tomatoes. How much of your vegetables go to waste because of lacking a good market on time? Such vegetables and fruits can be used to feed cattle, greatly reducing losses.
When it comes to crop production costs, manure is extensively used as opposed to artificial fertilizer. Farmers end up saving a lot in the cost of fertilizer for their crops.
Natural organic fertilizer from cattle contributes hugely to the soil fertility in your area.
Opportunities for strategic winter grazing fields
During winter seasons, cattle farmers face challenges with feeds. But this can be solved when you practice growing crops and bringing animals into the same field. Most farm crops harvested before winter falls can be used as feed for cattle.
Crop covers harvested before winter can be used extensively for feed during the winter season. The unique rotation ensures your cattle have feed throughout the year.
High yields on crops due to grazing
Grazing on farms can also lead to high crop yields. When animals graze on pasture and other grazing crops, they tend to perform better as opposed to traditional cropping methods.
Traditional cropping methods involve the removal of weeds and preparation of the ground.
Mixed farming situation
The mixed farming situation provides a mutual benefit for the crops and cattle. Post-harvest, the cattle can feed on the crops. This is beneficial in so many ways.
First, it helps farmers terminate cover crops without having to dig into the ground. This is a great way to save on extra costs for animal feed. If you have neighbors doing crop farming, you can talk with them and have your cattle graze their farms.
It is a great way for such farmers to get some post-harvest income and have the soil positively impacted. But if you have the crop farm and cattle, you’ll have a free pasture for your cattle.
This is a great relationship that saves you on feed while also improving the soil health for the next planting season.
It’s important to note that most grazing fields cost $500 per acre. You can imagine how much you’ll be saving by grazing your cattle on land you’ve already harvested.
Great reduction of environmental pollution and soil erosion
Bringing cattle and crops together also helps reduce environmental pollution and soil erosion. In farms where there are only cattle, huge piles of manure can lead to environmental pollution. However, that’s not the case in farms with crops. The manure is extensively used in the field to fertilize the farms.
There are usually little chemicals used when you have crops and cattle on the same farm. This further helps reduce pollution.
The type of farming also helps reduce soil erosion by having plants rotate between farms and grazing areas.
Risk reduction through diversification
Bringing the two together can also help reduce risks. In case of an incident, you’ll have something by the side. Take, for example, an incident that leads to the loss of cattle. You’ll reduce losses by having a good harvest of the crops.
You can have as many crops in the field for commercial and animal feed. Corn that can go to waste can be used as animal feed, helping reduce losses.
It’s always good to bring cattle and crops together as the combination can help you save production costs. Some of the plants grown during spring can be used as cattle feed during the winter season. The cattle also help clear post-harvest cover without causing much soil disturbance.