Optimizing Soil, Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency in Integrated Cropping-Livestock Production Systems

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

8 February 2013



Start Date

4 June 2013

Expected End Date

3 June 2018

Completed Date

11 March 2019


The introduction, adaptation and implementation of good farming practices are needed to address the challenges of increasing global population, food scarcity and making agriculture resilient to climate change. These practices are also important to maintain local and national food security and livelihoods, improve agricultural resource use efficiency and provide social and economic benefits. The integration of crops with livestock in agricultural production systems is a winning combination which results in many benefits such as: (1) conserving natural resources, (2) enhancing ecosystem services and environmental sustainability, (3) providing natural pest control (4) improving soil quality and crop yield, and (5) reducing risk through diversification of crop and livestock enterprises. However, many of these benefits have not yet been quantified or clearly understood. Persuading farmers to adopt integrated crop-livestock production systems, and policy makers to provide institutional support for implementing these systems is critically important. Success depends on the provision of quantitative information on the economic, environment and resource use benefits of such systems.  The proposed CRP assesses farming practices to improve the efficiency of soil, water and nutrient use in integrated crop-livestock production systems and to unlock the resources for improving food security. Both outcomes depend on identifying and quantifying improved management of soil, water, nutrient and soil quality, GHG emissions and nutrient losses from animal manure and crop residues. Using isotopic and nuclear techniques will provide more insight on the soil-water-crop-nutrient-animal interactions in integrated crop-livestock production systems.


To enhance food security and rural livelihoods by improving resource use efficiency and sustainability of integrated crop-livestock systems under a changing climate

Specific objectives

To assess socio-economic and environmental benefits of crop-livestock systems

To assess the influence of crop - livestock systems on GHG emissions, soil carbon sequestration and water quality

To develop soil, water and nutrient management options in integrated crop-livestock systems for potential adoption by farmers

To identify the potential for improving soil quality

To optimize water and nutrient use efficiency in integrated crop-livestock production systems

To strengthen the capacity of Member States to use isotopic and nuclear techniques as tools for improving the management of crop-livestock systems


The tangible results of this CRP were published in two success stories by IAEA OPIC and one story by India magazine highlighting the role of ICLS in improving soil fertility, C sequestration, mitigating GHGs, improving crop and livestock production and the role of nuclear and isotopic techniques in measuring nutrient and water use efficiencies. The CRP results also led to starting a new regional technical cooperation project in Africa.

Success Stories:
Integrated Farming Finds Success in India with Help of Nuclear Science (Oct 2017)


Application of nuclear technologies in agriculture saw positive results in India: Mohammad Zaman

Using Nuclear Techniques to Combat Climate Change and Improve Crop Yields Jul 2018


The CRP results in a new regional TC project in Africa.

CRP Publications





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