Intercropping is considered to be a sustainable alternative to monocultures, and could contribute to reduced use of pesticides and artificial fertilizer and to biodiversity conservation. However, intercropping comes with several challenges. Some of these challenges can potentially be overcome through the inclusion of livestock in these production systems. This project investigates the potential role and benefits of livestock species in relation to intercropping and enhanced crop diversity at farm and field level, using 1) literature review, 2) farmer interviews and 3) a focus group discussion in which we developed an infographic on crop-livestock integration. The literature review indicated that crop-livestock integration can have many benefits, including less required input of pesticides and fertilizer, use and conversion of crop byproducts into animal protein, and financial risk management, but there are also downsides, including a reduced ease and efficiency of management. The interviews supported the outcomes of the literature study and highlighted aspects that require attention for practical implementation. Although the added value of integration of livestock strongly depends on the context and farm management, there appears to be great potential for the implementation of intercropping-livestock integration, on field, farm or regional scale, to achieve a biodiversity-positive agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Livestock Research
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen Livestock Research


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