Characteristics and Profitability of Livestock-based Farming Systems in At-Bashy, Naryn Oblast
Farming in mountainous areas is practiced primarily by crop and livestock based small scale farmers. Prevailing agricultural production systems of these farms focus on animal husbandry, which depend on a mix of crop and pasture land around settlements and higher elevation summer pastures. Insufficient production of winter feed and the degradation of pastures around villages due to over-stocking, especially in early spring, results in low fattening, decreased health of livestock, and subsequent low profitability from animal husbandry.
Understanding the farm agricultural production system is crucial in order to make interventions that can contribute to improved crop and animal productivity, as well as sustainable pasture use. This study aims to characterise prevailing farming systems in terms of their herding practices and fodder cropping, to determine annual fodder demand and supply for herds, and the economic contribution of current livestock raising practices. The study derives recommendations for increasing animal productivity and ensuring sustainable pasture use. The paper is based on a survey of 72 households in the mountain villages of southern-central Tien Shan.