The ‘Palo a Pique’ Long-Term Research Platform: First 25 years of a Crop-Livestock Experiment in Uruguay

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Rovira, P., Ayala, W., Terra, J., Garcia-Prechac, F, Harris, P., Lee, M. R. F. and Rivero, M. J. 2020. The ‘Palo a Pique’ Long-Term Research Platform: First 25 years of a Crop-Livestock Experiment in Uruguay. Agronomy. 10 (3), p. 441.

AuthorsRovira, P., Ayala, W., Terra, J., Garcia-Prechac, F, Harris, P., Lee, M. R. F. and Rivero, M. J.
Abstract

Mixed crop-livestock long-term experiments (LTE) are critical to increase the understanding of sustainability in complex agroecosystems. One example is the ‘Palo a Pique’ LTE which has been running for 25 years in Uruguay (1995 to present) evaluating four pasture-crop rotations under livestock grazing with no-till technology in soils with severe limitations. Results demonstrate that cropping systems reduced soil organic carbon (SOC) compared with permanent pastures, and that perennial pastures rotating with crops were critical to mitigate SOC losses. Data from the ‘Palo a Pique’ LTE has contributed to establish new national policies to secure sustainability of agricultural-based systems. Although the original purpose of the LTE was oriented to crops and soils, a demand for sustainable livestock intensification has gathered momentum over recent years. As a result, the current approach of the ‘Palo a Pique’ LTE matches each pasture-crop rotation with the most suitable livestock strategy with the common goal of producing 400 kg liveweight/ha per year. General approaches to the pursuit of sustainable livestock intensification include: shortening the cycle of production, diversifying animal categories, increasing liveweight gain and final animal liveweight, and strategic livestock supplementation. Prediction of trade-offs between environmental, economic, and production indicators can be addressed through monitoring and modelling, enabling timely anticipation of adverse sustainability issues on commercial farms. The ‘Palo a Pique’ LTE serves as a framework to address contemporary and future questions dealing with the role of ruminants on climate change, competition for land, nutrient dynamics, and food security.

KeywordsCrop-livestock; Pasture-crop rotations; Sustainability; Sustainable intensification; Long-term experiments
Year of Publication2020
JournalAgronomy
Journal citation10 (3), p. 441
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.3390/agronomy10030441
Web address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/10/3/441
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeThe North Wyke Farm Platform- National Capability [2017-22]
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print23 Mar 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Mar 2020
PublisherMDPI
ISSN2073-4395

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