Increasing livestock productivity - through innovative and efficient animal nutrition

Animal Production and Health The main constraint to livestock development in many developing countries is the scarcity and fluctuating quantity and quality of available feed supply, nutrient imbalance in many native pastures and crop residues and/or lack of or limited usage of commercial concentrate feeds such as soybean, cottonseed and groundnut meals, etc. In these regions of the world, hundreds of millions of people depend directly or indirectly on livestock and/or livestock-based activities for their livelihood. Furthermore, available arable land is decreasing rapidly because of the rapidly increasing human population, soil/land degradation, urbanization/industrialization and global warming. Moreover, as the world gets hotter and drier, glaciers will melt, and the amount of arable land will shrink even further.

For sustainable development of the livestock sector it is essential to secure sufficient supply of balanced feeds from resources which do not compete with human food - production of grain in developing countries is mostly for human consumption. Novel approaches through the utilization of tree leaves, agro-industrial by-products, feed additives and aquatic sources are required to bridge the gap between supply and demand of feeds. Other advantages of these approaches is that they enhance biodiversity and improve soil fertility and turn by-product-associated disposal problems into opportunities for development e.g. use of poultry waste to feed ruminants.

Our objective is to enhance the efficiency of utilization of locally available feed resources including tree and shrub leaves, agro-industrial by-products and other lesser-known and/or new plants adapted to the harsh conditions or capable of growing in poor, marginal and degraded soils. This is being achieved through the development and application of new approaches for determination of nutritive value of these feed resources and development, adaptation and transfer of economically viable and “simple-to-use” feeding strategies.

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