Enhancing Livelihoods of Poor Livestock Keepers through Increased Use of Fodder: Project news

FEAST feed intervention tech sheets

The Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST) helps us to understand how local livestock are kept and fed. Standardized data visualizations give a good overview of where feed comes from, how it varies seasonally and what farmers view as the main problems and opportunities for feed improvement.

As part of this exercise, we produced a series of around 30 short Tech Sheets which provide a brief description of the main feed intervention options for developing world smallholder/pastoral systems. These help users to visualize possible options and understand how they fit varying local conditions.

See the list of sheets below or browse them on CGSpace

 

Title Download link Amino acid supplementation http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75595 Calf feeding: rearing on milk replacers http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75593 Cassava foliage http://hdl.handle.net/10568/73690 Chopping of feeds http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75581 Chopping of green fodder and forages http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75596 Commercial mineral licks http://hdl.handle.net/10568/73692 Complete feeds for pigs http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75597 Complete feeds for ruminants http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75598 Creep feeding – calves, lambs, kids, piglets http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75600 Crop – forage intercropping http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75591 Dry by-products: Cereals http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75592 Fodder trees and shrubs http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75589 Grasses for managed grazing systems http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75587 Hay making http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75579 Improved feed troughs to reduce wastage http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75602 Irrigated fodder production http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75588 Legume leaf and seed meals http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75584 Pulverization of crop residues http://hdl.handle.net/10568/73687 Short duration and annual fodder crops http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75590 Silage making http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75580 Soaking in water http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75583 Supplementation with green fodder http://hdl.handle.net/10568/73691 Sweet potato vines http://hdl.handle.net/10568/73689 Thinnings, tops and leaf strips http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75594 Urea molasses mineral block licks http://hdl.handle.net/10568/73693 Urea treatment http://hdl.handle.net/10568/73688 Wet by-products: Enset / banana leaves and stems http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75601 Wet by-products: horticultural and brewers waste http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75599

Guide to lablab bean use in smallholder systems in Africa

This extension brief, by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) researchers and their partners in Zimbabwe, explains explains the best cultivation and management practices for lablab bean and its importance as a forage crop.

Lablab bean (Lablab purpureus), is a drought-tolerant twining legume native to tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa. It can be grown as a single green manure crop or intercropped with maize or sorghum to improve soil fertility or grown as a cover crop to suppress weeds and to provide nitrogen-rich mulch in conservation agriculture.

In east and central Africa, an in parts of Asia, it is mostly used as a pulse crop and both the green pods and mature seeds can be consumed by humans.

Download the brief: The agronomy and use of Lablab purpureus in smallholder farming systems of southern Africa


Guide to velvet bean use in smallholder systems in Africa

This extension brief by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) researchers and their partners in Zimbabwe, explains the importance of velvet bean as a forage crop and the best practices in managing the crop.

Velvet bean–Mucuna pruriens var. utilis, also known as mucuna—is a twining annual leguminous vine common to most parts of the tropics. It can be grown for soil fertility, green manure and as a cover crop in conservation agriculture. It is also a high yielding leguminous forage crop—high in nitrogen (N)/crude protein content and is usually sown as an N-fixing ley crop or as a green manure crop to improve soil fertility.

Download the brief: The agronomy and use of Mucuna pruriens in smallholder farming systems in southern Africa


The Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST) – new developments

The Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST) helps us to understand how local livestock are kept and fed. Standardized data visualizations give a good overview of where feed comes from, how it varies seasonally and what farmers view as the main problems and opportunities for feed improvement.

In recent years, around 1000 people have downloaded the app.  Here’s  an update on a few recent developments with FEAST that may be of interest.

Prioritizing new feeding strategies – the intervention ranking analysis

While developing FEAST we have also been working on a prioritization tool to help match new feeding strategies to local conditions. Until now this has been called Techfit. Recently we took all the thinking behind Techfit and built it into a new module of FEAST called the “Intervention Ranking Analysis”. This new module allows users to rank a series of possible feed interventions based on their suitability to the farming system, commodity and socio-economic conditions of their target community. The Intervention Ranking Analysis provides a narrative explanation of the suitability of each intervention to local conditions. It’s a beta version for now and we welcome feedback as always. You can download the latest version of the FEAST app here.

Feed Interventions 101 – the Techsheets

Related to the above, we have produced a series of around 30 Tech Sheets which provide a brief description of the main feed intervention options for developing world smallholder/pastoral systems. These help users to visualize possible options and understand how they fit varying local conditions. View the sheets.

FEAST global data repository

We have developed an online data repository where you can upload FEAST data from individual study sites and download it again in aggregated form from a number of study sites. You can also download data collected by others if they have made it public. We encourage the FEAST community to make their data public to widen its reach and make it usable by others. We also ask for appropriate acknowledgement of FEAST data if you download it and use it for research purposes.

You can find all these resources from https://www.ilri.org/feast


Guide to silage making in the subtropics

Scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have developed a step-by-step explanation of the methods to be followed in making silage from fresh herbage and methods of storing and prevent spoilage.

This extension brief by ILRI researchers and partners in Zimbabwe, shares the principles of silage making that smallholder farmers can use to make forage for feeding their animals in dry seasons.

According to the authors, silage provides a means to conserve forage in as near a form to the original forage as possible but its high production costs mean it is mostly used in highly profitably enterprises such as dairying.

Download the brief: Principles of silage making in the subtropics.


Digestibility and metabolizable energy of selected tropical feedstuffs estimated by in vitro and prediction equations

In vivo determination of digestible organic matter (dOM) and metabolizable energy (ME) concentrations of feeds is laborious and expensive, whereas analysis of their nutrient contents is routinely performed. Prediction equations based on the chemical composition of feeds can be a compromise.

This poster, produced for the Tropentag 2016 conference, highlights a study that compared dOM and ME estimates of tropical feeds derived from selected equations with those determined by the in vitro gas production method. Samples of supplement feedstuffs and the herbaceous and ligneous vegetation on native pastures were collected in Lower Nyando, in Kenya.


Innovation platforms for dairy development in India and Tanzania

The milkIT (enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation) project aimed to contribute to improved dairy-derived livelihoods in India and Tanzania via intensification of smallholder production focusing on enhancement of feeds and feeding using innovation and value chain approaches.

Financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the project was organized around three sets of interventions:

  1. Diagnostic activities designed to help target interventions to real issues and constraints at community level
  2. Delivery of solutions – technical as well as institutional, to address challenges and needs
  3. Preparing for scale – engaging with other institutions, building partnerships and promoting wider uptake of the solutions and the approaches employed in the project
    . . . all devised and delivered through innovation platforms at different scales.

Multi-stakeholder innovation platforms were set up at different levels as part of the project, resulting in more milk sales, more interactions and better linkages among different value chain actors in India, and, in Tanzania, access to a larger variety of better feeds.

This video explains how the milkIT project worked with innovation platforms in India and Tanzania:

 

More about the MilkIT project


Smallholder dairying: better marketing or better feeding – which comes first?

The milkIT (enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation) project aimed to contribute to improved dairy-derived livelihoods in India and Tanzania via intensification of smallholder production focusing on enhancement of feeds and feeding using innovation and value chain approaches.

Financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the project was organized around three sets of interventions:

  1. Diagnostic activities designed to help target interventions to real issues and constraints at community level
  2. Delivery of solutions – technical as well as institutional, to address challenges and needs
  3. Preparing for scale – engaging with other institutions, building partnerships and promoting wider uptake of the solutions and the approaches employed in the project
    . . . all devised and delivered through innovation platforms at different scales.

Addressing the project’s hypothesis that improvements in milk markets would lead to increased productivity, project experiences showed that there are merits to approaches that link farmers to markets (using market ‘pull’ to drive productivity increases) and approaches where farmers focus on increases in milk productivity which will attract the market to them.

This video explains the different approaches used in the milkIT project:

 

More about the MilkIT project


Working out how to improve livestock feeding: The FEAST feed assessment tool

The milkIT (enhancing dairy-based livelihoods in India and Tanzania through feed innovation) project aimed to contribute to improved dairy-derived livelihoods in India and Tanzania via intensification of smallholder production focusing on enhancement of feeds and feeding using innovation and value chain approaches.

Financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the project was organized around three sets of interventions:

  1. Diagnostic activities designed to help target interventions to real issues and constraints at community level
  2. Delivery of solutions – technical as well as institutional, to address challenges and needs
  3. Preparing for scale – engaging with other institutions, building partnerships and promoting wider uptake of the solutions and the approaches employed in the project
    . . . all devised and delivered through innovation platforms at different scales.

The Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST) was one of the key tools used to assess local feed resource availability and use, guiding targeting and appropriate intervention strategies.

This video explains how FEAST was used in the milkIT project:

 

More about the MilkIT project


Female dairy farmers laid the foundation for a village-based ryegrass seed enterprise in Danyore valley, Pakistan

Rye grass seed produced by female livestock farmer in Danyore District Gilgit

Rye grass seed produced by female livestock farmer in Danyore District Gilgit

Rye grasses are widely grown cool season grasses that are better suited and have greater agronomic potential in the northern mountainous regions of Pakistan. Since 2015, the AIP-ILRI project has been working to improve dairy production through higher biomass production of improved fodder varieties, especially in mountainous areas like Gilgit.

Chand Bibi, a female dairy farmer, successfully produced ryegrass seed to lay the foundation stone of a village-based seed enterprise in Danyore Valley through the AIP-ILRI improved fodder variety seed program.

Field monitoring and results show that she earned/saved US$ 479 in biomass production with a meager US$ 16 investment from AIP-ILRI, which initially provided only one kanal seed. This amount is in addition to 3 kg of ryegrass seed (US$ 16 per kg) she produced on three quarters of the land she cultivated last year.

Last year, the AIP-ILRI seeds program in Gilgit yielded US$ 3,311 from high biomass production on only 2.5 acres of land. This will help dairy farmers provide highly nutritious feed to their animals and increase milk production (0.5-2.5 L/day/animal).

Initially published in the AIP Newsletter – A Newsletter of the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan, Volume 3, Issue 2, April-June 2016. AIP-Livestock is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in partnership with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). For feedback and queries, contact Ibrahim Mohammed (ILRI): m.ibrahim@cgiar.org


Early introduction of calf starter to enhance growth rate of cattle in Pakistan

 Ahata Mukhian, District Bahawalnagar

Measuring calf weight during early introduction of calf starter to enhance growth: Ahata Mukhian, District Bahawalnagar

The various livestock feed companies in Pakistan are suggesting that livestock farmers must introduce calf starter to their calves at the age of three months, at a recommended dose of 10% of their body weight. The AIP-ILRI project has been working to improve livestock production and create awareness among livestock farmers that they must fatten their calves to get higher economic returns.

A farmer participatory trial was conducted on a total of 39 Cholistani calves (24 male and 15 female) in Ganga Singh village, Bahawalnagar District. The results reveal that the average calf growth rate was 198 g/day during one month of the trial period when only half a kilogram of calf starter was provided to calves after one month of age.

Based on these findings, livestock farmers during the trial easily achieved a weight gain of 11.98 kg in their calves before the recommended three months of age without using the recommended 10% body weight dose of feed.

In terms of profit, every livestock farmer can easily get US$ 21 during the first 2-3 months of a calf’s life. Therefore, introduction of early calf starter feeding can provide more value addition from livestock in GDP of Pakistan. According to statistics, if 30% of farmers adopt this strategy of early feeding of calf starter to their calves, this would yield an additional US$ 113,079 value addition of livestock to the economy of Pakistan.

Initially published in the AIP Newsletter – A Newsletter of the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan, Volume 3, Issue 2, April-June 2016. AIP-Livestock is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in partnership with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). For feedback and queries, contact Ibrahim Mohammed (ILRI): m.ibrahim@cgiar.org


Potential of cactus as drought feed for small ruminants in Pakistan

Cactus based feed ration for the improved small ruminants productivity in Chakwal District

Cactus based feed ration for the improved small ruminants productivity in Chakwal District

Under the AIP-Livestock project (ILRI-ICARDA), cactus was introduced to farmers in the dry areas of Chakwal and its adaptation was tested and its value as animal feed was evaluated.

Three supplemental feeds were formulated based on available fodder such as oat, lucerne and spineless cactus, to assess the productivity of small ruminants. The four categories of animals (ewes/does/lambs/kids) belonging to four farmers were used in a farmer participatory trial. The animals grazed for 5-6 hours daily on rangeland followed by 2 kg/head/day supplemental mixed feed rations including oat, cactus and lucerne in the evening. However, animals in the control group (D) were maintained on 6-8 hours daily grazing only, as per farmers’ practice.

The trial lasted 60 days. Ewes that were fed oat- and lucerne-based supplemental feed showed similar high live-weight gain (67 g/day) followed by those fed cactus-based supplemental feed (33 g/day). However, the daily

live-weight gain (g/day) of kids fed oat- and Lucerne-based rations was 100 g, followed by kids fed cactus-based feed. The lambs/kids on grazing only showed lower live-weight gain (33-50 g/day). We concluded that cactus can be used as an alternate feed when other green fodder is not available.

Initially published in the AIP Newsletter – A Newsletter of the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan, Volume 3, Issue 2, April-June 2016. AIP-Livestock is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in partnership with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). For feedback and queries, contact Ibrahim Mohammed (ILRI): m.ibrahim@cgiar.org


Improving livestock production and productivity: the potential of Napier grass

For better livestock production and productivity, it is essential to assess the genetic diversity of the food which is fed to livestock. One of the main food sources for livestock in East Africa is Napier grass. Trying to bring their research to wider audiences, scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have used a poster to highlight the importance of enhancing the use of Napier grass in order to improve its future effect on small-scale livestock production. It underlines one of ILRI’s key ambitions—to improve forage efficacy in order to allow for more productive livestock, thus assuring the reduction of poverty in developing countries through the implementation of greater food security.

Download the poster: Teressa, A., Jones, C., Hanson, J. and Jorge, A. 2016. Exploring genetic diversity of Napier grass for better livestock production and productivity. Poster. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: ILRI.


Use of grain legumes residues as livestock feed in the smallholder mixed crop-livestock production systems in Ethiopia

Livestock productivity in Ethiopia is much lower than the existing potential due shortages of quality feed in the country. However, according to a poster produced by scientists working for the N2Africa project of the International Livestock Research Institute, adopting grain legumes can help boost annual production with concomitant increase in grain legumes residues, including feed quality, not only improving herd health, most importantly increasing smallholder farmer incomes.

Download the poster: Belete, S. 2016. Use of grain legumes residues as livestock feed in the smallholder mixed crop-livestock production systems in Ethiopia: Opportunities to improve feed quality. Poster. Hawassa, Ethiopia: Hawassa University.


Feeding less food-competing feedstuffs to livestock and global food system sustainability

Increasing efficiency in livestock production and reducing the share of animal products in human consumption are two strategies to curb the adverse environmental impacts of the livestock sector.

A recent article models the impacts and constraints of a third strategy in which livestock feed components that compete with direct human food crop production are reduced. In this scenario, animals are fed only from grassland and by-products from food production.

They show that such a strategy focusing on feed components which do not compete with direct human food consumption offers a viable complement to strategies focusing on increased efficiency in production or reduced shares of animal products in consumption.

Download the article


Is livestock intensification in Africa always a good thing?

In Europe intensive livestock production is often seen as harmful for the environment and animal welfare – think of cattle fed on grains which would be better used for human consumption. And producing lots of waste in concentrated areas which is difficult to deal with. In Africa, the mantra tends to be that intensification of livestock production is an environmental good – livestock are confined and prevented from over grazing scarce vegetation resources. Better fed livestock also use resources more efficiently since they use less energy for maintaining essential body functions leaving more for production of meat and milk. This is good for water use efficiency and means lower GHG emissions per unit of milk and/or meat.

However, in some work we did under the Systemwide Livestock Programme, some of our results indicate that livestock intensification could reduce returns of biomass to soil with possible consequences for long term crop yields and soil integrity. The study used a gradient of productivity in East Africa to look at patterns of use crop residue use among farmers. Crop residues such as straws and stovers are a key resource as crop-livestock systems intensify. In many mixed crop livestock systems farmers are under pressure to feed crop residues to livestock for immediate livelihood needs leaving less biomass for return to the soil. Our results suggest that farmers who sell more milk return less biomass to the soil. Farmers may therefore face a trade off between making immediate money from milk sales or investing in the long term natural capital of their soils.

The work emphasizes the need to think about the whole system when making recommendations about future intensification strategies.

Until 14 July, you can have free access to the paper here.

 

Or via these links:

http://hdl.handle.net/10568/75245

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.05.011


Nutritional value and seasonal availability of feed ingredients for pigs in Uganda

In this study, the nutritional values and seasonal availability of 43 local feed ingredients for pigs in Uganda, were estimated based on nutrient analyses and literature values, information needed to develop low-cost balanced rations for pigs on smallholder farms.

Parameters considered were: concentration of ash, neutral detergent fibre (NDF), crude protein (CP), calcium (Ca), phosphorous (P), ether extract (EE), total lysine (Lys), standardized ileal digestible (SID) Lys, standardized total tract digestible (STTD) P (all as % of dry matter [DM]); digestible energy (DE), (kcal kg−1 of DM); and DM concentration.

Banana peel, maize bran, and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) were ranked highest; and commercially-prepared ration, and kale/collard greens (Brassica oleracea var. acephala), were ranked lowest as potential feed ingredients. Ingredients with nutritional profiles suitable for pigs are available but some only in certain seasons. Estimated nutritional values may assist in ration formulation.

View the open access article:

Carter, N., Dewey, C., Lukuyu, B., Grace, D. and Lange, C. de. 2015. Nutritional value and seasonal availability of feed ingredients for pigs in Uganda. Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica 48(3-4):91-104.


Selecting forages for the Tropics with the SoFT tool

More than the 70% of the total area of agricultural land in developing countries is used for livestock feeding. Worldwide, there are 3.4 billion hectares of grazing land, representing more than a quarter of world land use. Research shows that there is an increasing demand for livestock products. Thus, the need for information on forages for specific climates, soil types, farming systems, and animals is enormously important to mitigate feed shortages and improve natural resource management.

Tropical Forages: an Interactive Selection Tool, or “SoFT” (Selection of Forages for the Tropics) enables users to identify forage species suitable for specific climates, soils, and farming systems such as cut and carry, agroforestry, erosion control, beef, and dairy. Users can also view images of the plants and their use, search a database of scientific references with abstracts, and consult a glossary of botanical and management terms.

 

Read the full article in the CIAT blog


Least-cost rations for sheep fattening: A manual for livestock farmers and extension workers in the Sahel

Sheep fattening is an increasingly important economic activity in the West African Sahel, particularly in and around Tabaski, the Islamic festival of Eid-al-Kabir. The low level of initial investment, rapid turnover rate, the high degree of social acceptance and easy access to the market make sheep fattening extremely attractive to poor farmers, including women. It entails feeding young sheep for a short period, leading to a 30–40% increase in edible carcass yield.

The main strategy is to fatten young, lean male sheep, born on-farm or, more frequently, purchased on the open
market, over a two–three-month period. Fattening is increasingly providing opportunities to rural and suburban
Sahelian communities to improve household food security and incomes. Sheep farmers traditionally feed their animals with whatever food that is available: feed waste when available and underfeeding in times of shortages. Consequently,growth rates in traditional sheep fattening have remained low and largely unprofitable.

This manual provides simple and tested practical guidelines for livestock farmers and extension workers on least-cost rations based on locally-available feed resources for sheep fattening. It contains details on feeding and management options that can be applied by small-scale producers. Other key issues addressed in the manual include housing, purchase of feed, general hygiene and the handling of animals.

Download the manual


Forage seed systems in Kenya – status update

A new working paper from CIAT report focuses on the current state of forage seed systems in Kenya under both formal and informal sectors and seeks to provide useful information for farmers and development actors looking or likely to engage in tropical forage seeds, especially in Kenya.

After presenting lists of different forage seed suppliers in the country, the authors conclude: “Although it was difficult to quantify the seed volumes from the information sources used to compile this report, it was clear that both formal and informal seed systems are important in Kenya. Demand for forage seed is likely to increase and be met by either of the systems, largely due to increasing demand for livestock products that in
turn has to be supported by robust forage and fodder availability.”

“With development of the fodder markets, farmers may be able to produce milk by relying on fodder and forage
bought off farm. This stratification on farmers specializing in milk or meat production and others on forage
production is likely to be beneficial as each entity complements the other. However, farmers with relatively large
farms would be the most suited to produce forage and, as such, drive forage seed demand and especially the
formal one.”

Download the paper


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