Sustainable intensification of legume-based livestock systems
This project brings together eight countries that are characterized by having an important livestock activity, both for meat and milk production. Altogether, they concentrate about 400 million cattle heads, which represents more than 20% of world stock.
Livestock is mostly carried out under direct grazing, in markedly different agroecosystems, with a high diversity of forage resources. However, there are clear similarities in most of these countries: (i) livestock is developed in marginal areas for agriculture; (ii) livestock productivity is low, including poor grazing management and animal loads that are usually less than one animal per hectare; (iii) the efficiency rates are low and; (iv) livestock is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in all the eight countries.
The forage legumes can play a central role through the biological fixation of atmospheric nitrogen, the improvement of the nutritional value of the animal´s diet and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Addressing these challenges and opportunities can be achieved more efficiently through a joint effort. Thus, the project seeks to establish a regional platform for cooperation in the improvement of livestock systems based on the use of forage legumes.
The technological solution
It is expected that the use of different legume species, that exist in the countries of the consortium, can contribute to increase animal productivity, making more efficient use of nitrogen through the use of its potential to sequester atmospheric N, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving edaphic characteristics, mainly its carbon sequestration capacity.
- A cooperation platform will be built to improve livestock production systems in Latin America and the Caribbean through the introduction of legumes in pastures. The platform will collect a large amount of relevant data on: the relationship between legumes with the FBN and edaphoclimatic variables; soil density and C and N content in different profiles; N2O and CH4 emissions from grassland soil with and without legumes; enteric CH4 emissions from cattle for animals fed with and without the inclusion of legumes; and the impact of the inclusion of legumes on animal production.
- The results obtained within the framework of the project will be published in scientific publications, congresses and notes in the mass media. Also, annual technical reports will be produced. Besides, the strengthening of technical-scientific capacities will be sought through the fulfilment of theses, internships, workshops and courses.
- As for the positive environmental impacts, it is expected to reduce the use of agrochemicals, decrease GHG emissions, favour carbon sequestration in the soil and a decrease in nitrogenous leachate. In turn, as social impacts, higher profitability is estimated due to lower costs in the use of fertilizer and higher yields, enhanced employment condition in rural areas and an improvement in families diet due to higher meat protein intake.
The direct beneficiaries are 2.532 people, including farmers, technicians, researchers and students of the eight participating countries (Argentina 361, Brazil 163, Chile 333, Ecuador 336, Nicaragua 120, Paraguay 85, Dominican Republic 98 and Uruguay 1036.
Regarding the type of beneficiaries achieved, 37 research institutes will participate with their respective experimental stations, also 18 universities, 247 researchers and 2230 farmers.
Sustainable Development Goals
- Fundación ArgenINTA (ARGENINTA) - Argentina
- Instituto Dominicano de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales (IDIAF) - República Dominicana
- Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) - Chile
- Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA) - Uruguay
- Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP) - Ecuador
- Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
- Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Nicaragua
- IPTA - Paraguay
- Empresa Brasileña de Investigación Agropecuaria (EMBRAPA) - Brasil
- Programa Cooperativo para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Agroalimentario y Agroindustrial del Cono Sur (PROCISUR) - Uruguay