Animal Feeding


From 9-10 December 2010, Researchers in a project carrying out four regional cases studies of ‘crop residue trade-offs in crop–livestock systems’ met in Addis Ababa to review progress and plans.

We recorded the reporting back sessions that discussed lessons and gaps related to the content focus of the project, the process followed so far, and the tools used.

In this video, Alan Duncan reports on the content discussions. Some ‘gaps’: Are the survey tools capturing sufficiently the higher-level policy and institutional environment? Are we capturing more open questions about how farmers make decisions? On the lessons: we need to better integrate the social with the technical; and we need to keep our eyes on the global drivers, as well as the regional ones. View the video

In this video, Diego Valbueno reports on the discussions of the process lessons and gaps. First, such a regional study needs someone to really facilitate coordination, harmonization and information sharing (among the regions and not just between regions and the central project coordination). We needed a common understanding of the tools we are using, and why. Very important – how are we going to disseminate information – to farmers, to policy? Are there some better ways in which we could have developed our framework and instruments? Perhaps we could have had a better picture of our analysis steps before we devised our data collection instruments? View the video

In this video, Nils Teufel reports on the tools and technical software used in the project, including SPSS, CSPRO, Google Earth. A big issue across the tools was training and we need to, for instance, draw on people with specialist knowledge across the project. Data management and archiving was discussed and some lessons from the questionnaires and survey tools were derived. View the video

More on the meeting

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Smallholders in mixed crop–livestock systems make up a large proportion of the farming enterprises in developing countries. In these systems, crop residues are an important component of production since they have multiple uses including livestock feed, construction materials, cooking fuel and organic fertilizer for the fields.

Mixed crop–livestock systems are very dynamic and are evolving rapidly in response to external drivers such as demographic pressure, development of urban markets, climate variability and climate change. In addition, recent interest in biofuels has further implications for land use and resource allocation.

This study aims to improve understanding of the tradeoffs among different crop residue uses in cereal-based systems in four regions: millet-, sorghum-, and maize-based systems in West Africa; maize-based systems in eastern Africa, maize- and sorghum-based systems in southern Africa; and wheat/rice-based systems in South Asia. The major trade-off in most systems is the short-term benefit gained from using crop residues to feed livestock versus the longer-term benefit gained from leaving crop residues in the field to improve soil fertility and control erosion.

The study focuses on decision-making processes at the farm and household level and the findings will capture the diversity and contrasts as well as recent changes in crop residue uses at various scales. The results will help decision makers to target technical, institutional and policy options to improve livelihoods, without compromising the long-term sustainability of these farming systems.

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Newsletter July 2010

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Newsletter September 2010

Brazil has revolutionised its own farms. Can it do the same for others?

An interesting article in the Economist on the transformation of farming systems in the cerrado of Brazil. Certainly addressing food security at global level but may be not equity, the future of small scale enterprises and other social and environmental issues…  To put in parallel with technical models linked to land deals (grabs) in Africa?

A related story: the recent and ambitious development partnership plan aiming at strengthening agricultural collaboration between Africa and Brazil which was launched at the 5th FARA/ African Agriculture Science Week in Burkina Faso on 21 July.

by Place F, Roothaert R, Maina L, Franzel S, Sinja J and Wanjiku J.

Abstract
The objective of this study is twofold, to demonstrate (1) the effects of fodder shrubs on milk production and their value at the household and regional level and (2) the contribution of research by the World Agroforestry Centre toward strengthening the impact of fodder shrubs. The study is a synthesis of previous studies related to dissemination, adoption and impact combined with two new analyses, one quantitatively measuring the impact of the shrubs through econometric analysis and the other a qualitative analysis to better understand constraints on adoption and gender issues related to participation and control of benefits from fodder shrubs. Among the study findings are that fodder shrubs have been widely adopted in East Africa, by an estimated 205,000 smallholder dairy farmers by 2005. Women were active in planting shrubs, as monitoring found almost half of planters to be women. Several studies have confirmed that shrubs do have an impact on milk production. While feeding trials have found that 1 kilogram of calliandra increases milk production by 0.6–0.8 kilograms, a new survey of farmers’ perceptions in Kenya found the effect to be about half as large after controlling for the effects of breeds, season and other feeds. Whether the effect is the lower or higher estimate, the overall impact of theshrubs in terms of additional net income from milk is high, at US$19.7 million to $29.6 million in Kenya alone over the past 15 years.

Full report in pdf

The Fodder Adoption Project has recently published Fodder Fact Sheets for Ethiopia in English, Amharic and Oromiffa

An interesting study by Wageningen University which unfortunately ignores completely livestock in the system, crop residues playing a major as feed. System specific trade-off analyses are certainly needed to assess competitive use of crop residues to either feed animals, maintain soil productivity or produce energy looking both at short and long term impacts on livelihoods and system productivity.

Following the launch of the ILRI new website few weeks ago, link to the ILRI-SLP Feed Database was lost. It is now re-established

Visit the Feed Database

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