As part of the ongoing collaboration between Livestock and Fish and CRS (Catholic Relief Services) through the USDA-financed project PROGRESA, a series of five manuals (in Spanish) was developed to improve dual purpose cattle production in the departments of Jinotega, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, and Madriz in Nicaragua.
The publications present information regarding the establishment and management of silvopastoral systems, grasses, forage conservation, cattle health management, and dairy processing. This initiative was conducted alongside farmers and their organizations, development institutions, universities, research centers, and development agencies. The purpose is to disseminate this knowledge using a step-by-step approach, responding to the needs of Nicaragua’s small and medium cattle farmers in a detailed, simple, and practical way.
Improving cattle management to develop the livestock sector
Livestock farming is one of the most important activities for the economic development of rural Nicaraguan families. Cattle farming is a significant source of income at family level, demanding attention, time, and health management strategies.
This manual is aimed at technicians and farmers, and focuses on tropical cattle species. It details animal health and veterinary input use and management in farms, and provides information on how to identify, treat, and prevent the most common bovine illnesses.
Grasses and forage conservation
Cattle feed is one of the bases to improve tropical livestock productivity. The impact of climate variability and extreme events such as drought or flooding has a direct impact on the feed base for cattle.
These publications present pastures as an abundant and cost-effective source of cattle feed, detailing aspects that must be considered to make a strategic investment in forage production. This includes the species’ agro-climatic conditions, terrain adaptation, and pasture establishment and management methods. It also details the implementation of low-cost feed storage techniques for periods of scarcity, as well as mineral supplementation in animal feed.
Promoting silvopastoral systems
Encouraging small and medium farmers in Nicaragua to explore a new approach to cattle farming, this publication details the principles for establishing silvopastoral systems as a way to favor ecosystem conservation and improve and protect tree, water, and soil systems. It describes general aspects of silvopastoral livestock systems, highlighting their potential to reduce the negative effects of cattle farming, and serving as a way to adapt to the impact of climate change in vulnerable tropical areas.
Strengthening the dual purpose cattle value chain: dairy processing
In the last few years, annual per capita dairy consumption in Nicaragua increased by 17.9%, contributing to rural families’ food security. Aiming to make the most of the country’s high dairy consumption, this manual presents an integrated approach to milk processing, considering factors such as business development, artisanal and semi-industrial techniques for dairy processing, and best manufacturing practices, and quality and hygiene control.