Definition of Mixed Systems

Mixed systems are defined as farming systems conducted by households or by enterprises where crop cultivation and livestock rearing together form integrated components of a single farming system.  They include the livestock systems of landless smallholders that rely on the crop cultivation of neighbouring farms.

The main reasons for mixed farming are:

Within the setting of the farm / enterprise, crop cultivation and livestock rearing can compete for the same scarce resources as such as land, labour and capital. Consequently the production performance of livestock is often lower than in specialised systems (grazing or industrial). However, the combined total production, taking both crops and livestock into account can under some circumstances be greater, and mixed systems are appropriate in many circumstances where industrial systems are not.

In general livestock plays a multiple role in mixed livestock systems. It can serve:

The interaction of livestock and the environment in mixed systems is particularly related to the principal role of livestock in the system and the feed resource bases in use. Based on principal feed resource base and potential risks and benefits the following sub-systems have been defined: These sub-systems are selected from the many sub systems amongst a range of possibilities. At one end, the mixed communal grazing system is a development of communal grazing systems under grazing systems. At the other end, the mixed external feed systems are followed by the industrial systems, with which they are closely related. .

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