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Co-design and assessment of cropping systems for developing crop-livestock integration at the territory level

Abstract : Agricultural systems face numerous sustainability challenges that require their ecological modernization. Strong changes in agricultural practices may require redesigning farming systems and involving local stakeholders in an agroecological transition. Development of Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems (ICLS) is a promising transition pathway. They can be developed at farm and territory levels by developing interactions between specialized farming systems. Designing ICLS at the territory level requires a systemic approach that considers social, technical and ecological issues from field and farm to territory levels. We present a participatory modeling approach for designing ICLS at the territory level in the Aveyron River basin (southwestern France), where arable farms experience significant sustainability issues due to intensive use of irrigation water and soil, erosion, while livestock farms have significant feed self-sufficiency issues. We first quantified the amount of feed imported to livestock systems to determine the potential for local feed production. We designed alternative cropping systems with a group of arable farmers and technical advisors. The resulting options for change in land use and practices were simulated to assess the delivery of ecosystem services, socioeconomic performance and capacity to respond to water scarcity. The most promising option is the introduction of alfalfa into current cropping systems. This option reduces the use of inputs in cropping systems, in particular irrigation-water withdrawals, by up to 50% without decreasing socioeconomic performance. Ecosystem services, in particular soil fertility maintenance and biological regulation, could be enhanced. Technical practices can be modified with the support of local supply chains, but require further support from public policies.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 11:31:26 PM
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Marc Moraine, Juliette Grimaldi, Clément Murgue, Michel Duru, Olivier Therond. Co-design and assessment of cropping systems for developing crop-livestock integration at the territory level. Agricultural Systems, Elsevier Masson, 2016, 147, pp.87-97. ⟨10.1016/j.agsy.2016.06.002⟩. ⟨hal-02637593⟩



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