Modeling the effects of mixed farming systems on soil carbon and crop-livestock productivity in central-west NSW

Muhuddin Anwar, Warwick Badgery, James Mwendwa, Neville Herrmann, Andrew D. Moore

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Simulation models are increasingly used for improvement of agricultural productivity through studying the interactions among biophysical processes in an agricultural farming system. In this study, we used AusFarm (agricultural systems analysis model) to simulate crop and livestock performance including long-term soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics under different management options such as conventional and reduced tillage, non-tillage with continuous cropping and perennial pasture in a grazing system. The AusFarm model was able to explain 70% of the observed variability in wheat grain yield with a RMSD of 554 kg/ha and showed good agreement between observed and simulated livestock performance. Simulated crop yield and gross margins were higher in conventional and reduced tillage with 2-years annual pastures cropping rotations than continuous cropping. In the long-term field experiment, the observed SOC increased initially, and were comparatively higher in reduced tillage than conventional practices. However, observed SOC decreased by 2012 in all other management options though SOC are higher in perennial pasture. The simulated trends of SOC under different farming system treatments were generally comparable with the observed field trial data. Although crops, pastures and livestock performance is related to timing of rainfall and amount of rainfall, equally, soil fertility decline can influence crop-livestock productivity. Long-term simulations suggest, cropping frequencies including crop-livestock rotation adjustments and soil-nutrient management are needed for productive mixed farming with environmental gains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication17th Proceedings of the Australian Agronomy Conference
EditorsTina Acuna, Matthew Harrison, Carina Moeller, David Parsons
Place of PublicationHorsham, Australia
PublisherAustralian Society for Agronomy
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event17th Australian Agronomy Conference - Wrest Point Convention Centre , Hobart, Australia
Duration: 20 Sep 201524 Sep 2015


Conference17th Australian Agronomy Conference
Abbreviated titleBuilding Productive, Diverse and Sustainable Landscapes
Internet address


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