Determinants of crop-livestock integration in Brazil: Evidence from the household and regional levels

Juliana Dias Bernardes Gil*, R. Garrett, T. Berger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Integrated crop-livestock systems (iCL) are advocated as a promising strategy to increase agricultural production and rehabilitate degraded pastures while mitigating GHG emissions. Although iCL in Brazil has increased over the past few years, it still occupies a small share of the country's total agricultural area. We investigate the determinants of iCL occurrence in Mato Grosso state, a globally important producer of beef cattle and grains that has experienced rapid land cover change and environmental degradation in recent decades. Our analysis encompasses two typical cases of iCL in Mato Grosso (the rotation of soy followed by pasture, and soy followed by maize and pasture) as well as biophysical, socioeconomic, and institutional factors observable at the household and/or municipality levels that may influence the wide-scale occurrence of iCL. Evidence at both scales suggests that knowledge and supply chain infrastructure play an important role in early occurrence of iCL, as they are more common in regions closer to iCL research stations and processing facilities of grains and cattle. On average iCL adopters are more educated and have better access to technical assistance and sector information than specialized farmers or ranchers. Most iCLs are concentrated near established soy areas and greater similarity exists between municipalities with iCL and soy-dominant municipalities vs. pasture-dominant municipalities. Our findings reveal the importance of specific conditions for iCL occurrence and iCL promotion in livestock-dominant regions. Incentives targeted at ranchers are crucial for the achievement of the Brazilian Government's goal to restore degraded pastures through agricultural intensification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-568
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Agricultural technology diffusion
  • Integrated systems
  • Land cover change
  • Pasture degradation
  • Sustainable intensification


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