Grasses and legumes can contribute to an efficient agriculture in two ways: First, they contribute indirectly to income by increasing or maintaining yields of other crops over time; second, they have a direct value as a feed in the production of livestock. Farmers generally are aware of the importance of forage as an integral part of the farm organization on many soils. Although they recognize the need for growing more forage, many farmers have problems of utilization.
Three basic sets of relationships determine the forage utilization system which is most profitable for an individual farmer or economically most desirable from the standpoint of society. These relationships are: (1) the rate at which forage substitutes for other feeds in the livestock ration and the rate at which forage substitutes for grain in the crop rotation, (2) capital and labor requirements, and (3) risk and uncertainty.
Heady, Earl O. and Olson, Russell O.
"Substitution relationships, resource requirements and income variability in the utilization of forage crops,"
Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station): Vol. 30
, Article 1.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/researchbulletin/vol30/iss390/1