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GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR CONSERVATION & UTILISATION
OF TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL FORAGES Issue 9 – August 2019
The International...
FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 2
Newsletter vs. Blog
“A newsletter is a printed report containing news (infor-
mation) o...
FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 3
Genetic resources
Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) is an impor-
tant forage grass par...
FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 4
Shortage of feed in terms of quantity and
quality, particularly during the dry season, ...
FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 5
The dairy sector in Tanzania has continued to
suffer because of low productivity despit...
FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 6
The Urochloa breeding program was initiated
in 1988 at the Centro Internacional de
Agri...
FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 7
Background
The species Andropogon gayanus Kunth is a
tropical forage grass original fro...
FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 8
FAST FACTS
3%In the period from 1927 to 2001, just about 3% of
participants in 19 confe...
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Forages for the Future Newsletter No 9

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Published on Aug 26, 2019
CONTENTS
-For the first time in Africa: 24th International Grassland Congress
-Buffelgrass: Broadening the frontier of genetic resources conservation, research and utilization
-Potential of Namibian native forage legumes as ruminant fodder
-Dairy farmers in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania reap big from Brachiaria grasses
-Agronomic status of grasses of the genus Urochloa in Grupo Papalotla
-Andropogon gayanus: Adoption and impact in Mexico
-Announcements

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Forages for the Future Newsletter No 9

  1. 1. GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR CONSERVATION & UTILISATION OF TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL FORAGES Issue 9 – August 2019 The International Grassland Congress (IGC) was scheduled for southern France, when one of us (BLM) was about to finalize her PhD thesis in Germany. It could be expected that the global state of the art in forage and grassland sciences was to be presented in that quadrennial event, and networking was of highest priority for most participants. Alas, Nice was still far from Germany in 1989 and, when the submission deadline passed, I was disappointed to have missed this opportunity to meet with former mentors, colleagues, friends from CIAT-Colombia. As things even- tuated, I had commenced a postdoctoral position in the Amazon lowlands of Peru, when the congress actually took place. Not participating certainly impeded first face-to-face meetings with Australian re- searchers who had kicked off the R&D work on Stylosanthes—my thesis was on S. scabra, an important tropical legume that nobody cared for in Germany in that time, though. Our view is that strong collaboration and international interaction was often initiated through events such as the IGC and done much better than today, despite the absence of today’s communication tools. No internet existed, no skype, no emails, and no cell phones. Working in Pucallpa/Peru, as I was in 1989, was like being ‘behind the mountains’— fully out of reach, but somehow still linked to what was happening elsewhere in the world through CIAT’s institutional connections. Today, such placement should be much easier with cheaper and shorter flights, and diverse communication tools! Yet despite the many benefits that could flow from close collaboration via easier communication, few key genebank personnel and/or forage researchers have ever met each other, let alone collaborated in any way. When revising the content of our first 8 newsletters, we found that we have been able to get stories that highlight certain species (30%) as a resource as well as on success stories and impact generated from forage utilization (40%). However, we have almost nothing on the transition from the genetic resource to impact—the agronomy work and on fitting forages to farming systems and into particular socio-ecological niches. This is critical work that is being done but, it seems, seldom told. So, how many untold stories remain? It has been increa- singly more difficult to encourage people to contribute their story and, perhaps, it’s time to conclude this newsletter. In our view, there probably is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and discussions and networking. The next IGC is scheduled for October 2020. Attending that meeting should, in our view, be a priority for the up-and-coming forage researchers of the world, who will carry the torch into the future. Please note that the submission deadline is coming up very quickly, and that we both hope to meet you at the joint International Grassland & Rangeland Congress in Nairobi, Kenya 2020 to build the networks and tell those untold stories. Brigitte Maass & Bruce Pengelly Meeting & networking opportunity In 2020, for the first time, the IGC – together with the IRC – will take place in Africa. Pages 2 & 8 Adopting Andropogon in Mexico In dry areas of Mexico along the Pacific coast, Andropogon has become the choice of grass for countless livestock producers on 300,000 hectares. Page 7 Forages for the Future IN THIS ISSUE
  2. 2. FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 2 Newsletter vs. Blog “A newsletter is a printed report containing news (infor- mation) of the activities of […] an organization that is sent by mail regularly to all its members, […] or people, who are interested in. Newsletters generally contain one main topic of interest to its recipients. A newsletter may be considered grey literature.” (Wikipedia) “A blog is a type of website where the content is pre- sented in reverse chronological order (newer content appear first). Blog content is often referred to as entries or ‘blog posts’. | Blogs are typically run by an individual or a small group of people to present information in a conversational style. However, now there are tons of corporate blogs that produce a lot of informational and thought-leadership style content.” (Wordpress) In summary, a blog could be defined as an instrument to meet new people, whereas a newsletter is used to make a deeper connection with people already known. Brigitte Maass Some useful links: Nonprofit Newsletter vs. Nonprofit Blog: Which Will Bring More Success (3 Jan 2018) by T Ibele/Wild Apricot Blog vs. Email Newsletter? Which Strategy Works Best? by J Zapata (5 Sep 2018) Newsletter Guide by by: E Roseman, C Porter, J Lichter- man, J Boltik, C Bodkin, et al. (n.d.) How to Create an Email Newsletter the RIGHT WAY (Step by Step) (Wordpress) What is a Blog and How is it Different from a Website? (Wordpress)    Abbreviations & Acronyms ACIAR Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research ADF Acid detergent fiber BBSRC Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK BMZ Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research CIAT Centro International de Agricultura Tropical CIPAT Tropical Pastures Research Center of Grupo Papalotla (Spanish acronym) CP Crude protein cv. Cultivar – registered, commercial variety DM Dry matter IBERS Institute of Biology, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, UK IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome, Italy IGC International Grassland Congress ILRI International Livestock Research Institute INIFAP Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias, Mexico IRC International Rangeland Congress IVOMD In vitro organic matter digestibility NDF Neutral detergent fiber The 24th International Grassland Congress (IGC) will take place in Africa for the first time. This conference will celebrate its centenary soon, as the first congress was held in 1927 (Humphreys 2005). In 2020, it will take place in conjunction with the 11th International Rangeland Congress (IRC) in Nairobi, Kenya. The IRC has only been established in the late 1970s in response to the view that “rangeland scientists became dissatisfied and frustrated with the … pro- grammes of the International Grassland Congresses [which] had very little rangeland content and were largely irrelevant” for them (Perry & Le Houerou 1991). 2020 is only the second time that these two major congresses will be held together after China in 2008. Hosting the first-ever joint IGC/IRC in Africa is significant for Kenya, as East Africa offers diverse and unique tropical savannah eco- systems and is home to some of the most economically important grasses of the tropics and subtropics. While this first ever African happening is a landmark in the history of the IGC, it is not so for the IRC, which has been less Eurocentric than the IGC, in part perhaps, because of the distribution of the major rangelands of the world (see figure on IRC venue regions). Abbreviations & Acronyms – contd. R&D Research and development RAB Rwanda Agriculture Board RUFORUM Regional University Forum for Capacity Building SNP Single-nucleotide polymorphism TALIRI Tanzania Livestock Research Institute TSTF Tropical and Sub-Tropical Forages UNAM University of Namibia FIGURES DEVELOPED FROM INFORMATION PRESENTED BY HUMPHREYS (2005) AND PERRY & LE HOUEROU (1991) Evolution of the IGC During its long history, the IGC has evolved from a congress largely dominated by wes- tern European participants (see figure) to one, whose perspectives have become more global. However, the majority of countries hosting IGCs are still biased towards those of western Europe (see World in Numbers, p. 6). The conference has changed slightly in thematic areas covered and in the weight of each of them. In his analysis of 19 IGCs (1927- 2001), Humphreys (2005) found that the number of contributions in some domains showed a downward trend, while others had increased. Interestingly, the ‘Plant genetic base’ theme, including forage genetic resources and plant breeding, remained fairly stable at ~21% of all contributions over the same period. Yet, the analysis does not cover the split between contributions on grazing vs. cut-and-carry systems or, in fact, the balance between temperate and tropical systems, but this would certainly be telling. The 2020 Congress aims to promote the interchange of scientific and technical information on all aspects of grasslands & rangelands, including a diverse range of research and development areas (see p. 8). Brigitte Maass References Humphreys LR. 2005. A brief history of the International Grassland Congress. In: Proc XX Int Grassl Congr, Dublin, Ireland (pp 45-52). Wage- ningen Acad Publ, Wageningen, the Netherlands. Perry RA & Le Houerou HN. 1991. International Rangeland Congresses historical note. In: Proc IV Int Rangel Congr, Monpellier, France (pp 1214-1216). For the first time in Africa: 24th International Grassland Congress
  3. 3. FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 3 Genetic resources Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) is an impor- tant forage grass particularly in the semi-arid areas of the subtropics and tropics. Origina- ting in Africa, Arabia, the Middle-East and India, it is also widely cultivated in Australia, and the Americas. The International Live- stock Research institute (ILRI) maintains over 200 accessions, collected from 19 African countries, in its forage genebank. The collection offers a valuable resource for the selection and development of new varieties and, with this in mind, ILRI and the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP) in Mexico have been working together to evaluate the performance of these materials. This project ‘Conservation, Characterization and use of forage genetic resources for priority grazing land ecosystems of Mexico’ (2013-2016) was also about capacity building. Characterization in Ethiopia The first study was carried out at ILRI’s experimental station in Bishoftu, Ethiopia on a vertisol soil, at 1850 metres above sea level (asl.), with average annual maximum and minimum temperatures (Tmax/Tmin) of 25 and 11°C, respectively, and an average annual rainfall of 850 mm. Significant diversi- ty in agronomic, morphological and nutri- tional characteristics was identified in the collection with one group consisting of eight accessions being more productive than all others. This group included 11 commercial cultivars, with which they were compared. In a second study performed at ILRI’s Zwai Experimental Station (loamy sand at 1,640 m asl., Tmax/Tmin 26/20°C, and with 600 mm annual rainfall), which included 10 commer- cial cultivars, four clusters of accessions were identified with one group, consisting of six accessions, having exceptional character- istics in both forage and seed production. Cluster analysis of 185 Buffelgrass accessions based on 1000 SNP markers. Contrasting accessions from the experiment in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Harvesting the Buffelgrass trial in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. ALL PHOTOS: R Sánchez-Gutiérrez Genotyping More recently, ILRI has started a genotyping- by-sequencing initiative on its collection to complement the agro-morphological data and investigate the possibility of initiating marker assisted selection in this species. So far, we have genotyped 185 accessions collected from across the origin countries and identified over 200,000 molecular markers, which were mapped to the genome of Foxtail millet (Setaria italica), a closely related species. Using a subset of 1,000 of these markers distributed across the S. italica genome, we have sorted the accessions into two main groups with up to 8 sub-groups in the collection at ILRI, none of which align with the geographic origin or cluster based on agronomic traits so far. CONTACTS: Ricardo A. Sánchez Gutiérrez, INIFAP, Mexico (E: rasanchez.gutierrez@gmail.com) & Alemayehu Teressa Negawo, ILRI, Ethiopia (E: a.teressa@cgiar.org) References & Publications Genesys – Plant Genetic Resources portal (Genesys PGR). Heuze V, Tran G, Baumont R, Lebas F. 2016. Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. (Online; last updated 1 April 2016). Sánchez-Gutiérrez R, Morales-Nieto C, Hanson J, Santellano-Estrada E, Jurado-Guerra P, Villanueva-Avalos J, Melgoza-Castillo A. 2017. Forage characterization of ecotypes of buffel grass under temporary conditions in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. Revista Mexicana De Ciencias Agrícolas 8(1):13-26. Sánchez-Gutiérrez R, Hanson J, Jones C, Jurado- Guerra P, Santellano-Estrada E, Melgoza- Castillo A, Morales-Nieto C. n.d. Phenotypic variation of Buffelgrass [Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link] and accessions with potential for forage and seed production. Revista Fitotecnia Mexicana (submitted in 2018). Buffelgrass: Broadening the frontier of genetic resources conservation, research and utilization Tropical Forages Database The project (funded by ACIAR & BMZ) on updating the Tropical Forages Database and selection tool will end by August 2019. Involved CGIAR scientists, independent forage experts, software developers, genebank managers, and members from the Global Crop Trust parti- cipated in a workshop in Germany in February 2019 to organize last pendings of work and for product testing. The updated tool will soon be available, both in a website version and as mobile application. CONTACT: S Burkhart, CIAT, Colombia (E: S.Burkart@CGIAR.ORG) Advancing sustainable forage-based livestock production systems in Colombia (CoForLife) A new project (funded by BBSRC) aims to improve cattle productivity on Colombian pasture-based farms by using a multidisciplinary approach that will link forage productivity and quality to animal productivity and farmer attitudes and practice. The collaborative project is led by the Institute of Biology, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University, UK. Read more. CONTACT: J Moorby, IBERS, UK (E: jxm@aber.ac.uk)
  4. 4. FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 4 Shortage of feed in terms of quantity and quality, particularly during the dry season, is a major constraint to livestock production in the tropics, and this will likely be exacerbated by climate change. Crude protein (CP) and energy are the main limiting nutrients during the dry season in grazed rangelands. Sub- Saharan Africa is endowed with a variety of native forage legume species, which are well adapted to harsh conditions, but their poten- tial as feed has not been exploited. In 2012, the University of Namibia (UNAM) obtained a research grant from the Regional University Forum for Capacity Building (RUFORUM) to characterize indigenous legumes in Nami- bia’s rangelands with a potential to enhance livestock productivity. 14 native species were collected from the wild and identified, four of which (Vigna lobatifolia, Otoptera burchellii, Crotalaria argyraea and Lablab purpureus subsp. uncinatus—wild lablab) were further investigated for palatability and intake. These forage legumes are widely distributed in central Namibia, where average annual rainfall ranges 135-350 mm; and they have been observed to be consumed by goats. Nutritional composition and palatability Forage legume samples were randomly collected from the wild across different seasons and locations. Leaves and young branches were harvested at different growth stages. The table shows least squares means of the chemical composition. CP content ranged 18-22 %, well above the minimum threshold of 7% required to support rumen microbial function; NDF was 36-56%, being below the 55-60% range that would limit intake. A palatability trial conducted in October 2014, using the cafeteria method, showed that Boer goats readily ate all the forages offered, but C. argyraea was less preferred, possibly, because of undesirable chemical constituents such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids or flavonoids (Lucena et al. 2010). Description Vigna lobatifolia Baker is a perennial herbaceous, trailing and tuberous legume with trifoliate leaves. It flowers shortly after the end of the cold season (September to April), maybe an adaptive feature to produce seed early in the summer season for dispersal. Otoptera burchellii DC. is a perennial herb, often trailing or climbing, with hairy stems up to 2 m long. Its leaves are trifoliate with leaflets lanceolate to ovate and up to 10 × 3.5 cm in size, blue-green, pointed at the apex with a long, mucronate tip. Flowers are purple. Pods are up to 12 × 0.8 cm in size. No germplasm collection exists as yet. Most research was performed through two MSc- theses (Kaholongo 2016 & Thamina 2018). Average chemical composition of Namibian native forage legumes (%, DM) Legume Crude protein Ether extract NDF ADF V. lobatifolia 21.0±1.2 2.6±0.3 44.4±1.9 27.6±1.7 O. burchellii 22.2±1.1 4.0±0.3 44.2±1.7 28.2±1.6 C. argyraea 21.6±2.5 8.7±0.6 36.2±3.8 23.4±3.2 Wild lablab 18.7±2.1 2.4±0.5 56.1±3.2 28.3±2.3 Crotalaria argyraea Welw. ex Baker is an erect shrub with trifoliate leaves. Flowers are yellow and pods are very hard, inflated and balloon like. Seeds are primarily dispersed by explosive dehiscence. Lablab purpureus subsp. uncinatus Verdc. (wild Lablab) is a perennial twining herb with comparatively small fruits, ca. 4 cm x 1.5 cm. It is probably a progenitor of the commercially used lablab. (ALL PHOTOS: Dept of Animal Science, UNAM) Conclusion Besides the studied legumes being naturally well adapted to harsh environmental conditions and their ability to fix nitrogen, the selected native species showed their potential as fodder and protein source for ruminants to enhance livestock productivity. Further research, however, is needed to effectively deploy native forage legumes. BY: E Lutaaya, A Kahumba & MNT Shipandeni, Dept Animal Sci, Univ of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia CONTACT: E Lutaaya (E: elutaaya@unam.na) Potential of Namibian native forage legumes as ruminant fodder Stylosanthes pellets: a healthy and sustainable animal feed Recently, Fudesemillas has developed methodology to produce animal feed using leaf meal produced from the tropical legume Stylosanthes, combined with other locally produced ingredients. Fudesemillas is a non-profit organization located in southern Costa Rica, dedicated to developing and implementing innovative agricultural technologies for adding value to rural products since 1990. The technology is based on growing, sun-drying, grinding and making feed pellets from a Stylosanthes guianensis cultivar that contains 5 anthracnose-resistant lines. Stylosanthes is a perennial crop, which yields three or four times more protein/ha/year than soybeans. A quite recent paper in Outlook on Agriculture provides all the details. CONTACT: R Sylvester-Bradley, Fudesemillas, Costa Rica (E: scacri@gmail.com)
  5. 5. FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 5 The dairy sector in Tanzania has continued to suffer because of low productivity despite increasing numbers of improved animals and availability of large land tracts for grazing. Climate change, coupled with more frequent and prolonged drought, has only made the problem more severe. However, the develop- ment of new forage varieties has brought hope to increase productivity of the sector. Climate-smart dairy systems The International Center for Tropical Agricul- ture (CIAT) is leading a research for develop- ment project on ‘climate-smart dairy systems’. The project is funded by The Inter- national Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented through national partnerships with the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) in Tanzania and Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) in Rwanda. It aims to help farmers to increase their production, storage and (year-round) avail- ability of high quality feeds. This will in turn enable farmers become reliable suppliers of milk and engage in commercialization. Climate-smart forage options (grasses, legumes) integrated into mixed production systems are also among the most relevant options to increase resilience and reduce the ecological ‘hoofprint’ or greenhouse gas emissions of dairy production. Particular attention has been given to climate-robust options increasing productivity while, at the same time, enhancing environmental bene- fits (soil fertility, greenhouse gas mitigation). In 3 districts of the southern highlands of Tanzania (Njombe, Mufindi-Iringa, and Rungwe-Mbeya), improved forages grasses and legumes have been tested in demo plots: Urochloa (syn. Brachiaria) hybrids cvs. Cayman and Cobra, Cenchrus purpureus (syn. Pennisetum purpureum, Napier grass) Ouma, Napier ILRI 16835, Chloris gayana (Rhodes grass), Tripsacum andersonii (Guatemala grass), Lablab purpureus, Stylosanthes guianensis and Desmodium intortum (Green- leaf). In addition, training, seeds and cuttings are provided to farmers so that they can plant the forages in their own farms. Farmers have already reported benefits from feeding these forages to their animals. High biomass yield, persistence in dry seasons, and significant increase in milk yield are the main observed positive impacts. David’s Brachiaria field in Njombe, Tanzania, with ready hay. A farmer’s experience David Mshindo, a farmer from Njombe, is one of the beneficiaries. Not only has he established an additional Brachiaria field, but he has also discovered that using a motor- ized tea pruner works efficiently in cutting the grass, allowing it to dry in the field for hay. This has boosted his cows’ milk production, especially in the dry season, and is benefiting his family. His son, a university graduate, has also ventured into yoghurt production at home, packing and distributing to his customers on his motorbike, and thereby contributing to his income. While depending on rain only to grow these forages, farmers can harvest the Napier and Guatemala grasses more than 6 times a year and the legumes and Brachiaria and Rhodes grass up to 4 times. Brachiaria grasses had the highest impact on milk yield with an average increase of 1.5-2 liters per milking time and when fed with either of the legumes the yield increased to 2-2.5 liters per milking time. Farmers also noted a reduction in the time it took to search for natural forage, of which 90% become unavailable during the dry period. From Rhodes to Brachiaria Interestingly, these improved forages have also become a direct source of income. In the past, it was common for farmers in the southern highlands and elsewhere in the country to make hay from Rhodes grass. But now they have switched to Brachiaria. David’s enclosed hay barn with Brachiaria hay. ALL PHOTOS: B Nzogela & SW Mwendia/CIAT Lameck Mshindo, David’s son, is measuring milk in readiness for yoghurt processing. Farmers are selling a bale of Rhodes grass hay (12-15 kg) at USD 1.4, and a bale of Brachiaria hay (20 kg) at USD 6.9 (May 2019). The introduction of these forages in the southern highlands of Tanzania has motivated more farmers to keep improved breeds of cows with the aim of increasing milk yield. Unlike in other highly populated areas such as Lushoto district in Tanga region, farmers in the southern highlands are growing the forages in plots and not in contours as barriers for controlling erosion but as their core source of animal feed. This is attributed to the fact that farmers still have enough land for growing both forages and food/cash crops. Farmers in Bukoba, Mwanza and Tanga are now motivated to start growing Brachiaria. BY: Beatus Nzogela, CIAT, Tanzania CONTACT: B.Nzogela@cgiar.org Dairy farmers in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania reap big from Brachiaria grasses
  6. 6. FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 6 The Urochloa breeding program was initiated in 1988 at the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), in Cali, Colombia, led by John W. Miles. Urochloa (syn. Brachiaria) is a large but poorly delimited genus comprising more than 100 species. The three economically important species (U. decumbens, U. brizantha, U. humidicola) belong to two of nine identified taxonomic groups. The first comprehensive germplasm collecting mission for this genus was carried out in the mid-1980s in eastern Africa, where approx. 800 accessions were collected. Today, this collection is mostly maintained as a field collection both at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ethiopia and CIAT in Colombia; and also largely dupli- cated with Embrapa institutes in Brazil. The collection provides a solid base for the development of new Urochloa cultivars, like Mulato II, Cayman, Cobra and Camello. Mulato II is a vigorous grass with deep and branched roots; Cayman has been released due to its strong waterlogging tolerance; Cobra is used in cut-and-carry feeding sys- tems; and Camello is outstanding for drought resistance (see characteristics table). Grazing new Urochloa hybrids at CIPAT-Brazil. PHOTO: EA PIZARRO Under very intensive grazing every 2 weeks in South Florida during 2010-2012, Urochloa hybrids, cvs. Mulato II and Cayman, had significantly higher percentages of leaf (70−80%), crude protein (19−21% in leaves, 10−12% in stems) and in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD, 73−75% in leaf, 59−61% in stem) than other lines tested. These key values of forage quality are similar to those usually reported for temperate grasses. Hybrids of Urochloa obtained previously from CIAT were interspecific and had low and in- consistent seed production ranging 0-1 t ha-1. Agronomic evaluation of new Urochloa hybrids at CIPAT-Brazil. PHOTO: EA PIZARRO Characteristics of hybrid Urochloa cultivars Mulato II Cayman Camello Cobra Soil moisture ◌◌◌◌◌ ●●●●◌ ◌◌◌◌◌ Drought tolerance ●●●◌◌ ●●●◌◌ ●●●●◌ ●●●◌◌ Shade ●●●◌◌ ●●●◌◌ ●●◌◌◌ ●●◌◌◌ Decum- bency ●●◌◌◌ ●●●◌◌ ●●●●◌ ◌◌◌◌◌ Palata- bility ●●●●● ●●●●● ●●●●● ●●●●● Grazing suitability ●●●●● ●●●●● ●●●●● ●●◌◌◌ Cut-and- carry ●●●◌◌ ●●◌◌◌ ●●◌◌◌ ●●●●● Hay and silage ●●●●◌ ●●◌◌◌ ●●◌◌◌ ●●●●● Erosion control ●●◌◌◌ ●●●◌◌ ●●●●◌ ◌◌◌◌◌ Pest resi- stance ●●●●◌ ●●●●◌ ●●●●◌ ●●●●◌ Source: slightly modified from Grupo Papalotla A new agreement was signed between Grupo Papalotla and CIAT in October 2018. PHOTO: CIAT Today, Grupo Papalotla has disseminated CIAT hybrids in 52 countries around the world. In October 2018, Grupo Papalotla and CIAT signed a new agreement. This agree- ment follows a long-term collaboration between both organizations and allowing Grupo Papalotla to produce and commer- cialize the new hybrids developed by CIAT in three breeding lines: Urochloa interspecific hybrids, U. humidicola and Megathyrsus (syn. Panicum maximum) hybrids. This renewed agreement will focus the joint efforts on developing products that also reverse environmental degradation, and contribute to reducing greenhouse gases from livestock activity. CONTACT: Esteban A. Pizarro, Semillas Papalotla SA de CV, México DF, Mexico EMAIL: eapizarro@gmail.com Read more in a recent Agronomic status of grasses of the genus Urochloa in Grupo Papalotla
  7. 7. FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 7 Background The species Andropogon gayanus Kunth is a tropical forage grass original from sub- Saharan Africa and of recognized agronomic value for its adaptation to acidic and low- fertility soils. It is characterized by growing and thriving very well in dry tropical areas, including well-drained savannas. In Mexico, the species was introduced through CIAT’s Tropical Pastures Program in 1982. 300,000 Currently in Mexico, the grass covers approx. 300,000 hectares, predominantly located in areas that are considered marginal due to drought, limiting the production of agricultu- ral crops. In 1986, INIFAP (Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias) released Andropogon gayanus cv. Llanero in Mexico. Farmers have identi- fied this cultivar because of the low cost of the seed and its attributes of high forage pro- duction, resistance to drought, resistance to pests and diseases, vigor of regrowth at the beginning of the rainy season, and for its good capacity for natural repopulation by seed. Yet, it’s great height of up to 4 m, also resulting in low leaf:stem ratio, triggered the selection of a lower (up to 2 m), much leafier type that is now being commercialized. The most important areas of A. gayanus are marginal lands mainly located along the Pa- cific slope in the states of Guerrero, México, Michoacán, Jalisco and Sinaloa. Various go- vernmental supports have been decisive for the rapid adoption of this important grass. Dry season feed The main impact of this grass in the semi- arid zones of tropical Mexico is because it has arrived to solve problems of forage scarcity in the dry season, since it offers high biomass production during the rainy season. The use and management of the plant is mainly under grazing conditions. However, as the dry season progresses the plant becomes lignified and, thereby, restricted to make best use of the forage on foot. Simultaneous- ly, and as plant maturity advances, the nutri- tive value decreases, especially in terms of crude protein content and total digestibility. Newly established Andropogon gayanus on sandy soil in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Young Andropogon gayanus planted on sandy soil in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Flowering plants of Andropogon gayanus for seed production in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Cattle grazing a stand of Andropogon gayanus in Guerrero, Mexico. ALL PHOTOS: A Peralta Martinez Grass seed production National grass seed production has also played an important role in the rapid growth of existing surfaces. The production and harvest of seed is carried out by small livestock producers in paddocks established with pastures. They use hired laborers who cut the mature inflorescences and put them to sweat, shake them when dry and, finally, pack them for sale. In the last years of the 20th century, several state agricultural devel- opment agencies provided training services to producers for the production, manage- ment and benefit of ‘llanero grass’ seed. Even so, the main objective of sowing the grass has never been seed production; it is a welcome by-product of small-scale livestock activity in Mexico. BY: Armando Peralta Martínez, Agroproductos de Iguala SA de CV, Guerrero, Mexico EMAIL: agrisa05@hotmail.com Artisanal seed production of Andropogon gayanus in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Invasive plant, major weed? Andropogon gayanus has been introduced for pasture improvement worldwide. In some regions, especially in Australia, the grass is considered a major invasive that strongly contributes to hotter bushfires than from natural grasslands (e.g. Rossiter-Rachor et al. 2009; Setterfield et al. 2010; Neale 2019). In contrast, it appears to be an appreciated grass, well adapted to several rather marginal semi-arid areas of tropical America. Andropogon gayanus: Adoption and impact in Mexico
  8. 8. FORAGES FOR THE FUTURE | Issue 9 8 FAST FACTS 3%In the period from 1927 to 2001, just about 3% of participants in 19 conferences of the International Grassland Congress have come from Africa. 21%With little variation, about 21% of the work presen- ted in the same period of 19 congresses, belonged to the thematic area of ‘plant genetic base’. Source: Humphreys (2005) OFF-THE-SHELF Arboreal Legumes for Multiple Uses—edited by J Muir & J Dubeux, Legume Perspectives, #17, Aug 2019 A GLOBAL STRATEGY ON FORAGES For more information, read Pengelly’s (2015) report on “A Global Strategy for the Conservation and Utilisation of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Forage Genetic Resources”. LETTERS TO THE EDITORS If you are not on the recipient list but you want to receive this newsletter, please contact us. If you are not interested in receiving further issues of this newsletter, please send us an email. Please share your opinions and write us letters regarding controversial issues. We are eager to debate with you your agreements or disagreements! Your opinion matters! Announcements Joint XXIV International Grassland (IGC) and XI International Rangeland (IRC) congresses to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, 25 – 30 October 2020. The theme is ‘Sustai- nable Use of Grassland/Rangeland Resour- ces for Improved Livelihoods’. Read more. THEMATIC AREAS 1. Rangeland/grassland ecology 2. Forage production & utilization 3. Livestock production systems 4. Wildlife, tourism & multi-facets of range- lands/grasslands 5. Drought management & climate change 6. Pastoralism, social, gender & policy issues 7. Capacity, institutions and innovations for sustainable development in rangelands/ grasslands IMPORTANT DATES Oct 1, 2019Deadline for submission of proposals for concurrent panels. Nov 15, 2019Deadline for submission of abstracts for posters or oral presentations. Apr 30, 2020Deadline for submission of full papers; & deadline for early bird registration. Oct 16, 2019Deadline for regular registration. Oct 24 – 30, 2020IGC-IRC Congress FROM THE JOURNAL: Vol. 7 No. 3 (June 2019) Research papers ● Performance of young Nellore bulls on guineagrass pastures under rotational stocking in the Brazilian Cerrado. by Braga GJ, Maciel GA, Guimarães Jr R, Ramos AKB, Carvalho MA, Fernandes FD, Fonseca CEL, Jank L ● Between-year variation in the effects of phosphorus deficiency in breeder cows grazing tropical pastures in northern Australia. by Coates DB, Dixon RM, Mayer RJ ● Perennial ryegrass and novel festulolium forage grasses in the tropical highlands of Central Kenya: Preliminary assessment. by Mwendia SW, Maass B, Njenga D, Notenbaert A ● Enhanced germination performance of dormant seeds of Eragrostis tef in the presence of light. [Turkey] by Tiryaki I, Kaplan SA ● Effectiveness of inoculation with rumen fluid containing Synergistes jonesii to control DHP toxicity in ruminants in eastern Indonesia. by Halliday MJ, Pakereng C, Edison RG, Ara P, Dida PR, Nulik J, Hau DK, McMillan HE, Shelton HM ANNOUNCEMENT The journal will publish two special issues with papers compiled from the International Leucaena Conference, taking place in Queens- land, Australia in October/November 2018. NEXT NEWSLETTER ISSUE We aim at producing the next (last?) newsletter towards the end of 2019 or early 2020. DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the CGIAR or the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Photos from the title page: top by BL Maass; right top logo from joint IGC/IRC 2020; right bottom by A Peralta Martinez FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr Brigitte Maass Brigitte.Maass@yahoo.com Dr Bruce Pengelly Bruce.Pengelly@gmail.com Global Crop Diversity Trust Platz der Vereinten Nationen 7 53113 Bonn, Germany www.croptrust.org

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