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Integrated Farm System Model for Amazon beef cattle: A case study
Lorena Machado Pedrosa

Última alteração: 23-10-18


Integrated Farm System Model for Amazon beef cattle: A case study1

Lorena Macho Pedrosa2, Luana Molossi3, João Alex de Medeiros2, Aaron Hoshide 4,Daniel Carneiro de Abreu5, Eduardo Guimarães Couto6

1Parte da dissertação de mestrado do primeiro autor, financiada pela CAPES.

2Estudante de Pós-graduação em Agricultura Tropical pela UFMT – Campus Cuiabá.

3Estudante de Pós-graduação em Zootecnia pela UFMT – Campus Sinop.

4Professor Associado da University of Maine – U.Maine.

5Professor do Instituto de Ciências Agrárias da UFMT – Campus Sinop.

6Professor do Departamento de Solos e Engenharia Agrícola da UFMT – Campus Cuiabá.

Abstract: Brazil faces the challenge of balancing environmental conservation with agricultural production. Integrated crop-livestock systems are seen as an alternative to intensify and increase the sustainability of beef production. Computer models have been used to estimate impacts of those systems. This study aims to use the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) to evaluate the productivity and environmental impacts of an integrated system in the Amazon biome of Brazil. IFSM is a system-based model using biological and physical parameters to evaluate the nutrient cycling, crop and animal performance, environmental impacts and profitability of beef cattle as well as forage and grains. The data for the calibration process was collected from a cooperating farm from northwest Mato Grosso state, located in the Amazon biome. The farm was simulated from July 2015 to June 2016 and July 2016 to June 2017 (with integration). The outputs of IFSM 4.4 overestimated the meat production in the first year due to the internal equations that, once there is not enough food, the purchase of components of the diet is simulated. Usually, there is weight loss of the animals, which happens during the dry season. Thus, the observed production was 16% lower than the simulated production. In the second year, due to better climatic conditions and lower stocking rates associated with the integration of 13% of the area with annual crops, the conditions of the pastures were optimized. Also, the simulated meat production was consistent with observed values, with only a difference of 1%. In contrast to beef production (kg ha-1), the IFSM underestimated the soybean yield by 29%. This difference may be due to the chemical or physical parameters of the soil specified. The simulated outputs show the environmental impacts of meat production through specific components of the ecological footprint of system production. For both years, the main contributor to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) was the animal component, followed by the direct and indirect use of land and the use of inputs for production. The contrast shows a 17% reduction in the total annual amount of CO2 emitted, even increasing the total area. Reduction of the total number of animals (from 15,442 head in 2015-16 to 11,934 head in 2016-17) contributed to the result. Through the optimization of the meat production system, GHG emissions were reduced by 14% per kg of meat produced. When evaluating the same indicator by area (t CO2 ha-1), GHG emissions were reduced by 21%. This may be explained by the adequacy of the stocking rate of the farm, adjusting to the real carrying capacity of the pastures and the benefits of crop-livestock integration. In conclusion, the IFSM is a potentially useful tool to evaluate agriculture systems and help tropical farmers in sustainable agriculture decision-making.


Amazon, crop-livestock integration, computer modeling, greenhouse gas emissions, IFSM, sustainable intensification.


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