On 1 December 2009, Dennis Friesen (CIMMYT) presented CIMMYT work on maize as a livestock feed to the CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programme Livestock Policy Group Meeting.

The starting point of the research was the recognition that maize stover (residues) is important as livestock feed in Eastern Africa, however, stover traits are not an important priority in maize breeding. The project sought to:

  • understand the influence of livestock related factors on farmers choice of maize cultivars.
  • identify superior dual-purpose maize cultivars from existing maize germplasm for diverse agro-ecological zones.
  • define opportunities and strategies for further genetic enhancement towards dual-purpose maize.
  • develop new tools for quick and economical on-field assessments of stover fodder value in crop improvement work.
  • propose additional selection criteria for variety releasing agents that take into consideration stover quality

As conclusions, he presented 4 ‘principles’:

  • Current release criteria with focus on grain remain important
  • Stover traits are additional criteria not substituting criteria
  • Go for win-win situations
  • Facilitate optimization of whole plant utilization (also beyond fodder)

See his presentation: