On-Farm Experimentation with Practical Low-Cost Alternative for Including Livestock in Sustainable Farming Systems

1988 Annual Report for LNC88-014

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1988: $16,848.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1990
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Ron Krupicka
Center for Rural Affairs

On-Farm Experimentation with Practical Low-Cost Alternative for Including Livestock in Sustainable Farming Systems


1) To establish joint efforts with sustainable agriculture groups, land grant universities,
vocational agriculture programs, livestock producer groups and farmers to develop instructional
materials on more sustainable crop and livestock production practices and how these practices
can be used to help beginning farmers enter agriculture.
2) To work directly with small- to moderate-sized farmers and organizations, with special
emphasis on beginning farmers, to identify and develop livestock production practices that will
take the whole farm into consideration while at the same time conserving natural resources and
improving the profitability of the farm.
3) To share developed materials and results with vocational agriculture programs, land grant
universities, sustainable agriculture organizations, farmers, and other farm groups.

Methods and Results:
Throughout the 2-year period of this project, numerous meetings were held with the University
of Nebraska Agricultural Education Department, county agents, agricultural education
instructors, non-profit organizations, and others to determine sustainable agriculture education
needs. A series of workshops was conducted in the winter of 1989-90 to provide some of the
materials for developing a curriculum for teaching sustainable agriculture, and an additional
workshop was co-sponsored with the Nebraska Sustainable Agricultural Society. A multi-state
advisory committee with broad representation is being established to solicit further input as the
curriculum develops.

Two years of on-farm research was completed with walk-through horn fly traps and
time-controlled grazing. These experiments were conducted on both beef and dairy farms. The
project staff interviewed nine other farmers to demonstrate low-cost hog facilities and
production approaches, and one farmer to demonstrate low-cost dairy facilities. The walk
through fly traps were quite effective (70-90 percent control) and thus may prove a valuable fly
control alternative on dairy farms, or beef farms with a central watering point. Forage-based
dairying is being practiced by many Nebraska farmers with great success.

Potential Contributions and Practical Applications:
Farmers are quite creative and innovative in keeping building costs low, thus insuring an
opportunity to profitably raise livestock on their farm. This has implications for the general
dispersal and integration of livestock, thereby the allowing many farms to realize the benefits
livestock provide. Also, low-cost facilities are valuable tools for beginning farmers with minimal
finances to establish themselves in farming.