‘Sustainable intensification of crop-livestock systems through improved forages’ is this year’s CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish and US university linkages winning proposal. The proposal was submitted by Birthe Paul and Rolf Sommer, scientists from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and supported by Claudio Stockle of Washington State University. Other CGIAR collaborators are An Notenbaert and Brigitte Maass, CIAT scientists and Ben Lukuyu and Alan Duncan, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) scientists.
The proposals submitted were reviewed by four research leaders drawn from the Livestock and Fish Program partner centres, ILRI, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), WorldFish and CIAT. The winning proposal ranked highest on the following weighted criteria; contribution to program priorities, potential to leverage new funding, engagement wof multiple centres, promotion of cross-centre and cross-CGIAR Research Program collaboration, value for money, leverage of new expertise and potential for strategic partnerships.
According to the proposal, ‘Tropical forage technologies have been promoted in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for sustainable intensification of crop-livestock systems. However, there are few studies from sub-Saharan Africa quantifying impacts on natural resource management. The main deliverable is a quantitative review of productivity and environmental impacts of improved forage technologies in sub-Saharan Africa and their uptake which will set the scene for the subsequent analysis.
‘The core of the proposed activities is cooperation with Claudio Stöckle, Professor at Washington State University and creator of CropSyst. The collaboration will calibrate CropSyst for selected forages, support ongoing work on adding inter-cropping to the functionalities of CropSyst and apply it in case studies in the region. Impacts of baseline and improved livestock diets will also be modeled with the CSIRO hosted ruminant model. The main deliverable for this activity is a set of case studies on environmental impacts of forages currently tested on-farm in Tanzania.
‘CropSyst is a widely-used cropping system model to simulate the growth and yield of crops in response to soil and climatic conditions under a range of environmental effects including soil C dynamics, N2O emissions, N leaching, soil erosion and soil water dynamics. It is well calibrated for many food crops, but less so for fodder crops.