Prior to the latter part of the 20th Century, mixed crop and livestock operations were the norm in the US. As mechanization increased crop diversity decreased and fewer farmers control the land. Prior to this change, animals provided an important part into crop rotation and nutrient recycling of the ecological system cycle. Biological activity within the soil has decreased with this change. Tillage is an enemy to organic matter and biological activities that take place within a healthy soil. Crop rotations allow the recharge of biological life within the soil. Grasslands help restore soil life. Grazing crops that are consumed by an animal are passed thru the animal system at about 90% and those nutrients are recycled through the soil and growing plants. This article explains the inter-connectedness of the soil, plants, animals and the how that interaction creates a much healthier ecosystem.

Integrating Crops and Livestock: A Return to the Past or Moving into the Future?
Jim Gerrish
American GrazingLands Services LLC, Patterson ID USA
August 2014
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