The role of forages in mitigating the effects of climate change in smallholder crop livestock systems
The Role of Forages in Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change in Smallholder Crop-Livestock Systems Kabirizi, J1.; Mugerwa, S1.; Ziwa, E2.; Nanyennya, W1.; Matovu, M3.; Kigongo, J1., Komutunga3 E., Agona3 A., Mubiru D3. 1 National Livestock Resources Research Institute, P.O. Box 96, Tororo 2 Bulindi Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute, P.O Box 101, Hoima3 National Agricultural Research Laboratories, P.O. Box 7065, Kampala Climate change and climate variability is a major constraint in crop-livestock production systems. Climate change leads to inadequate (quality and quantity) fodder; reduced milk yield and household income and sometimes death of the animals. Farmers have to walk long distance in search of fodder whose quality is very low (less than 10% crude protein) Drought tolerant forages such as Brachiaria mulato provide year-round fodder supply (6-9 tons/ha/year) when established in addition to Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) (10-25 t/ha/year).
Brachiaria mulato (Signal grass) Maize stover is a source of feed during the dry season but its crude protein is too low (<4.0%) to sustain milk production. Intercropping maize with Lablab purpureus improves maize stover yield (4,357 kg/ha); protein content (7.6%) and grain yield (2,139 kg/ha) compared to the maize monocrop (3,934 kg/ha; 4.0% and 1,598 kg/ha, respectively). Lablab provides a soil cover, conserves soil moisture, controls soil erosionMaize-lablab intercrop for food and and suppresses weeds in additionfodder production to providing a source of protein. Supplementing dairy cows fed low quality forages with fodder trees such as Calliandra calothyrsus improves milk yield by 10%. Fodder trees contain 20-25% Crude protein compared to grasses (<10% CP). Lactating cows consuming an average daily amount of 3 kg of fresh tree fodder over a period of 10 months had an average daily weight gain of 0.55 kg, while exhibiting no apparent health problem.
Leguminous forages such as Lablab purpurerus are the cheapest potential source of soil, crop and animal nitrogen in different farming systems. Forage legumes have high (15-20%) protein content. Forage legume supplements increase dry matter intake; improve rumen function and a laxative influence on the alimentary system.Applying manure to fodder fields improved fodder yield andnutritive value by over 30% and 10%, respectivelyAcknowledgements
We acknowledge financial and technical support from the NationalAgricultural Research Laboratories; the Rockefeller Foundation and theNational Livestock Resources Research Institute.