Livestock and Climate Initiative Advances Climate-Resilient Livestock Feed Strategies through an Occasional Feeds Conversation

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In an event held 1 Nov 2023, scientists from the CGIAR Research Initiative on Livestock and Climate convened for an Occasional Feed Conversation, shedding light on the pivotal role of improved livestock feed management in adapting to climate change, particularly in arid regions. The discussion also emphasized the contribution of enhanced feeding practices to greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation and reducing the environmental footprint of livestock. 

The conversation served as a platform to synthesize various research activities within the initiative, with scientists presenting ongoing feed work in poster format. This inclusive approach documented current research while allowing for reflections on successes and extracting valuable insights for future endeavours.  

Key discussion points included the need to adopt a structured approach to address feeds and forages, encompassing diverse systems like rangelands and mixed farming. Furthermore, participants highlighted the importance of clearly defining boundaries for the type of feed research within the Livestock and Climate Initiative, distinguishing it from other CGIAR initiatives. 

Priority was given to the development and use of drought-tolerant and water-use efficient forage species. This emphasis aims to enhance livestock management efficiency while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. The conversation also underscored the significance of forage conservation to foster sustainable livestock production, ensuring a year-round supply to markets and enhancing the resilience of livestock keepers.  

Moreover, participants explored and discussed the implementation of incentivization mechanisms to encourage producers to adopt climate-smart feeding practices. Anticipating the evolution of livestock systems over the next 10-20 years, particularly in the context of climate change, the discussion emphasized the importance of developing climate-resilient feed options for the future.  

Highlighted research activities included a new feed database introduced by Peggy Karimi, scientist at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, facilitating decision-making, environmental analysis, and soil modelling through region-specific nutritional and management data. Other presentations delved into positive deviance in livestock farming, capacity development and scaling approaches for increased forage adoption, and initiatives promoting climate-resilient farming in specific regions. 

The full list of presentations was as follows:  

 The recent meeting marks the commencement of an ongoing conversation on the livestock feed-climate change nexus. Recognizing the importance of enhancing livestock productivity through improved feeding practices, the Livestock and Climate Initiative remains committed to further developing ideas and priorities in 2024. This initiative is a crucial step towards reducing the GHG impact of the livestock sector and bolstering adaptation strategies for vulnerable communities.  

View the full presentation here:  

Header image: Bullock cart with green fodder for dairy cows. Photo by S.MacMillan/ILRI. 

Story by Alan Duncan, Chris Jones and Madison Spinelli. 

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