- Fruits: melons
- Animals: goats
- Animal Production: grazing management, stocking rate
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research
- Energy: energy conservation/efficiency
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development
- Pest Management: eradication
Land clearing is a costly activity for small family farms. By learning to integrate goats with crop farm enterprises, farmers can reduce their cost of land clearing.
The project successfully demonstrated that goats can be used for land clearing, followed with crop production. During the final period of the project watermelon, eggplant and papaya were produced on land that was cleared by fenced goats instead of using farm tractor and their implements. With the production and marketing of the vegetable crop the project objective was successfully accomplished.
The goats are excellent browser and grazers and can remove bunch and broadleaf grasses, brush and woody plants effectively. Planting area was cleared well enough for planting crops. In 2011, the project focused on growing crops on land cleared by goats. A field day was held to share the progress of the project.
Many small producers depend on hiring tractor services to open or clear land for crop production. With increasing fuel prices, the prices for hired services are increasing. It is not unusual for the cost of land clearing to exceed $750 per acre, depending on the type of vegetation cover.
Many small family farms have more than one enterprise that they depend on to contribute to their family’s economic security. They grow multiple crops to capture the benefits that come with both being biologically and economically diversified. It is common to see farms growing different fruits and vegetables together in same plots. By growing variety of crops, they can offer their market a variety of plant products, especially if they participate in CSAs and farmer’s market outlets. However when farmer’s crop diversity is made up of plant and livestock, they are usually operated as separate operations and usually not as well integrated.
The goal of the project is to reduce the dependence of petroleum farm input by integrating the livestock and crop enterprises into one operation, each benefiting the other. The strategy is to utilize the behavior and characteristic of goats to clean up harvested and fallowed fields, instead of using tractors, then to follow land clearing activities with crop production.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
1. Plan and design integrated crop and livestock system.
Performance Target: Completed plan and design- Month 1
2. Develop record keeping book for the project.
Performance Target: Completed format for record log-Month 1
3. Purchase project supplies and materials.
Performance Target: Completed supply purchase-Month 2
4. Install portable and moveable livestock fences in crop field
Performance Target: Completed installing portable fence-Months 3-4
5. Implement and maintain crop/livestock rotation system.
Performance Target: Completed crop/livestock rotation system- Months 5-24
6. Maintain record book for the project.
Performance Target: Completed maintaining project log-Months 5-24
7. Review project record book.
Performance Target: Completed reviewing record book-Annually
8. Conduct field day.
Performance Target: Completed field days – Months 12-24
9. Compile information from record book and complete project reports.
Performance Target: Completed compiling information- Month 24
10. Develop publication on the project from project record book and report and mail to clientele and agencies.
Performance Targets: Completed project information for clientele