Sustainable Crop/Livestock Systems in the Texas High Plains: Phase I

Southern SARE

Crop and livestock production in the Texas High Plains generates over $5 billion in annual revenues but has depended on irrigation with water from the Ogallala Aquifer. Once considered to be an inexhaustible resource, the aquifer is now known to be declining at a rate that has already left many wells dry and crop production increasingly vulnerable. The importance of crops, forages, and livestock to the Texas High Plains highlights the need to develop systems that enhance profitability, improve conservation of soil and water resources, and expand marketing opportunities for a more sustainable agricultural system.

In a Southern SARE-funded project (LS97-082), “Sustainable Crop/Livestock Systems in the Texas High Plains”, Texas Tech University researchers hypothesized that viable grazing systems could be developed and that by integrating crops, forage, and livestock in production systems, their complementary benefits would allow a more sustainable use of water and soil while maintaining an appropriate level of crop and livestock production. This bulletin highlights Phase I of that research.

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