Evaluation of an integrated crop livestock system of sorghum-dolichos bean-corn and calves in Zamorano, Honduras

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Cruz Z., Alondra
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Zamorano: Escuela Agrícola Panamericana, 2022
Integrated crop-livestock systems (ICLS) are alternative form of production that create resilient production systems by combining production of a cash crop and livestock within the same area of land, sequentially or simultaneously. This study determined the impact of grazing calves on soil penetration resistance, pH, total organic matter, macro and micronutrients, cation exchange capacity, weed species diversity and richness, and corn grain yields through a randomized block design with three treatments: continuous corn crop (CCC), grazed cover crop (GCC), and non-grazed cover crop (NCC). The research was carried out in Zamorano University, Honduras. Soil analyses were taken before experiment establishment, before calf introduction, after calf removal, and after corn harvest. “Tuxpeño” corn variety was planted at a density of 83,333 seeds/ha. In each unit, six continuous rows were fertilized with mineral fertilizer and the other six were left unfertilized. There were no significant differences within ICLS treatments; however, the ICLS x fertilizer interaction had statistically significant differences in the NCC treatment. The GCC and CCC systems had comparable yield results. Grazing had an effect over the depth at which penetration resistance (PR) occurred; where there was grazing, the PR occurred at shallower depths. Regarding chemical soil parameters, the three ICLS systems showed differences in organic carbon, organic matter, and in N, K, Ca, Fe, and Cu levels. All treatments presented similar amounts of species diversity and richness according to the Shannon Diversity Index (H) and Evenness (E). However, H decreased over time in the GCC system.
44 p.
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Cover crops , Farmer livelihoods , Food security , Soil health , Sustainable agriculture