Learning About the Benefits of Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems on Soil Health

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $73,861.00
Projected End Date: 05/01/2019
Grant Recipient: South Dakota State University
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Julie Walker
South Dakota State University


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay, cover crops
  • Animals: bovine, sheep


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops, no-till
  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: soil analysis

    Proposal abstract:

    This professional development program will train a group of agricultural advisors from diverse disciplines, primarily Extension and NRCS personnel, on measures of soil health and other indicators of sustainable production in integrated crop-livestock systems. Teams of advisors will work together to learn about the case study process and put this knowledge to use. By working with successful producers who utilize integrated crop/livestock systems, including the grazing of cover crops, for management of soil health, advisors will increase their understanding of the decisions being made within complex, diverse agricultural operations. The sharing of this information at a workshop with project personnel and other advisors will lead to development of curriculum and programs for training and demonstration of maintenance and improvement of soil health and other components of sustainable production through integrated crop-livestock systems.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We propose to provide crop and livestock extension, NRCS and other land management and agricultural advisory personnel improved tools for assisting producers in improving and maintaining soil health through integrated crop/livestock systems. Specifically:

    1. To better understand how individuals successfully integrate crops and livestock onto their operations
    2. To evaluate the benefits of successful integration on soil health measures
    3. To share these ideas from differing regions within the state and to seek out commonalities
    4. To use the increased understanding to develop curriculum and programs for training and demonstration of maintenance and improvement of soil health through integrated crop-livestock systems


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.