October 5, 2022

WMNF | Sustainable lifestyle: animal production system

This week we spoke with Jose Dubeux, Professor of Forage and Grassland Science at the University of Florida. We talked about Developing a Sustainable Livestock System.

Jose is internationally recognized as an authority on ecosystem services in silvograzing systems as well as the use of cacti and grasses as fodder. During his career, Jose and his team have published 660 publications including 251 peer-reviewed articles and chaired 36 graduate students.

Below is the article for reference:

https://agronomy.ifas.ufl.edu/people/jose-dubeux/

He explained that a sustainable livestock system is designed to graze an intentionally planted forage crop. The role of the herbivore in nature is to prune old grasses, which restarts the rapid production of biomass – without herbivores, this process stops. With different cover crops, you can alternate what grows best in each season. Then in turn the roots sequester the carbon, the cows fertilize the crops with manure and urine…. Create a natural symbiotic relationship.

Adding trees to pastures (called Silvopasture) also sequesters carbon, provides shade, and adds to underground mycorrhizal delivery systems.

Fodder crops: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/agriculture/forages/

(Joel Salatin uses move, mob and mowing, that’s how it works)

Video below:

Reducing added nitrogen fertilizer reduces the use of fossil fuels (used in manufacturing) also reduces our use of supplemental fertilizer AND saves money in the long run.

As for the methane produced by cows, if they are animals raised in the field, the pastures balance it out. Stockyards would be where the excess methane occurs. However, in Florida, the emphasis is on a cow/calf system. They are sold to other states and countries to “finish”.

Florida ranks 14th in terms of livestock density with approximately 900,000 beef cattle and 100,000 dairy cattle. Funnily enough, that number has stayed the same since the 1950s. BUT in the 1950s we had 2.8 million people in Florida. Now that number is closer to 21 million and growing by 1,000 people a day. Of this number of people, only 5-10% of us are vegetarians.

As long as the meat is raised to be eaten. It seems that finding the best, most sustainable way is the right rank to hoe.…. Therefore, to say.

In the 1600s, the bison population in North America was 30 to 60 million.

During the 1800s, after the Great American Bison Massacre, bison numbers declined dramatically. Then across North America they dropped to 541 to 300 in the United States.

Today, there are ½ million bison in the United States.

There were 30 million beef cows in the United States as of January 1, 2022.

(Domestic dialed with native)


Tune in Monday morning at 11 a.m. for the next Sustainable Living Show, where we’ll talk about biofuels with USF Professor George Philippidis.

Remember, if you’re looking for someone to save the world, look in the mirror.