The economic value of sustainability of the integrated crop-livestock system in relation to conventional systems


ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of improving the economic value of integrated crop-livestock systems (ICLS) compared to conventional systems specialized in monoculture. The experimental area was 16.02 ha, divided into 18 paddocks of 0.89 ha each, organized in a randomized block design, with three replicates and six models of production systems: crop system [corn ( Zea mays ) grain production], livestock system (beef cattle under grazing conditions), and four ICLS, identified as: ICLS-1, corn integrated with Marandu palisadegrass [ Urochloa brizantha (Hoechst. ex A. Rich.) R.D. Webster cv. Marandu (syn. Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu] sown simultaneously without herbicide; ICLS-2, corn and Marandu palisadegrass sown simultaneously with herbicide; ICLS-3, corn and Marandu palisadegrass with lagged sowing; and ICLS-4, corn and Marandu palisadegrass sown simultaneously, with herbicide in rows and between-rows of corn. We demonstrated the economic impact analysis combined with the risk optimization and discounted cash flow techniques based on Monte Carlo simulation, considering price and productivity uncertainties. The indicators of added value and return on investment of ICLS had an economic advantage compared with conventional systems. It was also found that ICLS needed a smaller operational area than conventional systems for the economic break-even point. Integrated systems provide lower financial and operational risk levels and greater economic value per hectare compared with conventional systems specialized in monoculture.



agriculture, beef cattle, economy, intercropping