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Use of crop residues and agro-industrial by-products in ruminant production systems in developing countries

  • M. C. N. Jayasuriya (a1)

Abstract

Ruminant production systems in developing countries could be classified into three categories: the extensive systems, systems incorporating arable cropping and systems integrated with tree cropping. Systems have evolved in response to the agro-ecological environment, the availability and type of land, nature of cropping patterns, frequency and intensity of cropping, area of uncultivated land and animal species and animal numbers.

Smallholder livestock farmers in most developing countries appear to have adopted a mixed system that incorporates the traditional extensive system and the system that combines arable cropping with livestock. Both in Africa and in Asia, livestock production is an important component of traditional agriculture, complementing arable cropping. Livestock utilize existing food resources such as communal grazing lands which are marginal for arable cropping, crop residues and agro-industrial by-products. Besides supplying meat and milk, organic manure and draft power, livestock are an investment and an insurance against crop failure.

Crop residues and agro-industrial by-products are a major source of nutrients for ruminant livestock in developing countries, especially during periods of fodder shortage. Despite the large research effort on upgrading crop residues in recent years, there has been little improvement in the utilization of crop residues in developing countries. Reasons for this are many but include, the absence of detailed production patterns of crop residues within countries, including when and where they are produced, the difficulties of transporting and storing crop residues, inappropriate technology and the near absence of extension services.

Both in the African and Asian continents, smallholder farmers who rear livestock for supplementary income are rather reluctant to change their traditional practices, when new technologies call for extra labour, time and capital, since the methods may be too demanding in relation to the benefit produced. The more likely application of any new technology will be with larger-scale operations where benefits are clearer and sufficiently large to warrant the extra efforts.

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References

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Use of crop residues and agro-industrial by-products in ruminant production systems in developing countries

  • M. C. N. Jayasuriya (a1)

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