How do we plan future sustainable livestock farming systems? Some argue that intensive, specialized systems are more efficient and emit fewer pollutants; others claim that integrated, diversified farming systems are more beneficial to both society and the environment. Bio-economic farm models can help decision-makers and researchers analyze the trade-offs among the numerous possibilities, and direct future livestock production toward greater sustainability. The Orfee model described and evaluated here was developed with this aim. It covers a broad range of beef and dairy systems and forage and crop production alternatives that may be managed with varying levels of intensity (breed, production objective, crop operations, etc.) and integration (crop rotation, organic fertilization, calving period, animal diets, etc.). Capital is also included in the optimization process, with trade-offs between production, labor, machinery and buildings. Environmental impact is assessed through potential impact on climate change.
Agricultural Systems – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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