| Crops provide by-products in the form of residues and concentrates that can be utilized by ruminants and non-ruminants.
Improved forages can be introduced into annual and perennial cropping systems to provide feed for ruminants.
| Large ruminants provide draught power for land preparation and for soil conservation practices.
Both ruminants and non- ruminants provide manure for the maintenance and improvement of soil fertility. In many farming systems it is the only source of nutrients for cropping.
The sale of animals and animal products and the hiring out of draught animals can provide cash income.
Animals grazing vegetation under trees crops can control weeds and help to increase yields of the plantation crops.
Source: Devendra, et al 1998.
Mixed Farming Systems and Equity
| Helps in diversifying the sources of income and employment for resource poor farmers and landless laborers and thus offers considerable potential for poverty alleviation.
Livestock acts as a storehouse of capital and an insurance against crop production risks.
Development of livestock sector promotes gender equity since women play an important role in animal production.
Livestock rearing are a means of security and survival and supply vital dietary protein.
MCLS in India
In India small- scale mixed crop-livestock farming is the common and most dominant form of animal husbandry. For small and marginal farmers animal husbandry based on family labour and residues and by- products of crops grown on their own land continue to be a substantial source of income and employment.
Livestock in these systems are more equitably distributed compared to land. Small and marginal farms account for only 32% of the total land but own 59% of total bovines and 64% of total ovines (Table 1).
The animal land intensity in India is high with an average land holding size of 1.57 ha supporting nearly 2.94 bovines and 1.14 ovines. This in turn puts pressure on common property resources.
Table 1. Distribution of livestock according to the size of holdings: All India, 1991- 92
|Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics 1997.|
Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems in India
P Parthasarathy Rao, T Bhowmick, and D Kar
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