The development of agriculture over the past half-century has led to increasing specialization of production systems in which crop and livestock production have separated into distinct industries. While this separation has enhanced the “management efficiency” of both systems, ecological functions that occur in an integrated system have either been lost or must be replaced by mechanization or an increase in the use of off-farm inputs. New strategies are being explored for the reintegration of livestock and crop production to improve ecological function and economic performance.
Raising pastured poultry is a simple way to integrate livestock into small farms. A summary of experiences at WSU Puyallup with small-scale pastured poultry production on organically certified land from 2005-2007 is presented. The goal was to integrate pastured broilers into a vegetable-pasture rotation in an organic farming systems experiment.
BIOAg Conferences and Proceedings
The BIOAg program has hosted or contributed to a number of conferences and symposia. Materials resulting from these events include presentations, posters, and proceedings highlighting research progress and results. Materials prepared for conferences often precede formal publications so browse here for emerging research.
Surprising New Uses for Former CRP Land
2010. By Kathy Barnard in Connections Magazine (CAHNRS and WSU Extension Alumni and Friends publication).
Controlling Leafy Spurge by Goat Grazing - April 2010
Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter
2008 Estimated Costs and Returns for a 150-head Cow-calf to Grass-finished Beef Production System in the Channelled Scablands Range Area of East-central Washington
In response to the popularity of grass-finished beef, this publication provides a production budget analysis using both ranch-owned and leased forage sources in eastern Washington to determine profitability. Funded by the William D. Ruckelshaus Center, the Beefing Up the Palouse pilot project applied a total systems approach to develop a replicable production model to help producers take full advantage of the eastern Washington dryland wheat production area resource base.
2003 Graziers Conference: Grazing According to Gerrish - December 2003
Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter
Designing an Integrated Livestock-Grain Rotation for the Palouse Region of Washington and Idaho
A SARE funded project at WSU Looking at integrating livestock into the grain-based cropping system to diversify the rotation, fix nitrogen, and provide alternative income streams.
Implementing Noxious Weed Control through Multispecies Grazing
Don Nelson, WSU, led a 3-year SARE funded project looking at using sequences of different grazing animals to control noxious weeds, especially useful for non-cropland where other options are not feasible.
Healing the Land through Multi-Species Grazing
A noxious weed invasion is underway on the rangelands of the western United States that is causing significant problems in the form of ecosystem and bio-diversity damage resulting in a reduction in the carrying capacity of grazing animals. The expenditure of millions of dollars on control measures has not been successful; these measures have had negative impacts on livestock producers' profitability and, in some cases, have caused environmental problems. This DVD is about the use of multi-species grazing (cattle, sheep, goats) as a tool in an integrated approach to the control of noxious weeds. It depicts the activities of a 2-year regional project funded by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development program. Thirty participants from four states (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and California) took part in this project. They represented state/federal agencies, extension, county weed boards and ranchers. The first year was devoted primarily to a series of workshops that taught the principles of holistic decision-making, grazing planning, low-cost cow-calf production and monitoring. The second year emphasized the collaborative design and implementation of on-the-ground projects that integrated the principles learned. Three of these projects are described in this DVD. 37 minutes. (available for purchase or free online viewing)
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National resource links
The following online resources contain a wealth of information on a number of BIOAg topics. Use search fields to narrow results:eXtension, USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) Master Publications List, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Project Reports, & Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service (NRAES) Publications.
Beefing Up the Palouse
Since 1985 the U.S. government has implemented the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) which pays farmers NOT to grow crops on millions of acres of highly erodable land. In addition to being a controversial program, much of this land is now coming out of CRP which puts pressure on farmers to grow crops in these areas once again. In the Palouse in Washington State, local farmers and ranchers are looking at holistically grazing livestock as an economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional wheat farming in these sensitive areas and to the CRP in general. Video presented by Managing Change Northwest.